The Preservation League of New York State, the state’s most most prominent advocates for historic preservation, have named the Adirondack Scenic Railroad to its Seven to Save, an annual list of high-priority endangered sites that will receive active League attention in the coming year.
At a news conference this week in Albany, Executive Director of Adirondack Architectural Heritage Steven Engelhart said, “On behalf of AARCH, Historic Saranac Lake, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, Trails with Rails Action Committee and the thousands of people who believe in the continued use and expansion of the Remsen to Lake Placid rail corridor, we thank the Preservation League for their designation of this threatened historic resource as a Seven to Save site.”
“Simply put, what we have before us from the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is a bad plan,” he said. “The DEC plan will remove 34 miles of existing railroad infrastructure to create a multi-purpose recreational trail. This action will significantly diminish what is probably the largest site in New York State on the National Register of Historic Places. It will do great harm to an active economic engine in the region, a railroad with a ridership of 100,000 people, with lots of positive spin-off benefits. It will end forever the possibility of bringing an increased level of rail passenger service to the region.”
“This is the first instance we know of where an active railroad has been shut down for a rail trail in the entire country,” Engelhart said. “Most importantly, there is no compelling public need for the state’s proposal. Here in the Adirondacks we already have thousands of miles of hiking, walking, skiing, snowmobiling and biking trails of all kinds that are accessible to visitors and residents. We don’t need to tear up the railroad corridor to add 34 miles of additional trails, especially considering what will be lost.”
Past recipients of the Seven to Save designation in the region include the Old Stone Barracks in Plattsburgh, Fort Montgomery in Rouses Point, and the Lake Champlain Bridge at Crown Point.