The New York State Adirondack Park Agency has recommended approval for an amendment to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (APSLMP) to change the Travel Corridors classification category definition, the guidelines for management and use, and amendments of related provisions. The Agency’s recommendation will move to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his approval.
The Agency issued the following news release Friday afternoon. You can read more about the rail trail controversy here at the Adirondack Almanack:
The Agency’s recommendation allows rail and rail trail use in the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor and future State-owned railroad corridors with existing rails. This revision allows, but does not require, the rails to be removed from any section of a railroad corridor, including the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor, upon adoption of a Unit Management Plan. The APSLMP will continue to allow for development of a trail parallel to the existing railroad if the corridor and surrounding lands have the capacity to support that use. The Agency’s recommendation will be forwarded to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his final determination.
APA Acting Chair Karen Feldman said, “After carefully consideration of a substantial record including impressive and informative public comment, the Agency Board will forward a recommendation to Governor Cuomo to amend the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. These revisions will maximize public recreational opportunities, broaden economic impact and ensure that the protection of the Park’s unique natural and historic resources will remain paramount. We thank our colleagues at the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Department of Transportation and the Office of Parks and Historic Preservation for their consultation, and eagerly look forward to working on the future unit management plan.”
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Governor Cuomo understands the power of the Adirondack Park to draw millions of outdoor enthusiasts from around the world to New York to experience its unrivaled natural beauty. The proposed revisions to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan will allow DEC to improve and enhance these critical travel corridors to accommodate and support increased recreational use that will boost regional economies in a manner that is protective of this precious natural resource. DEC was proud to partner with the Adirondack Park Agency and involved stakeholders on these improvements that strike the delicate balance to responsibly and sustainably promote and protect New York’s magnificent North Country.”
The amendment defines a railroad corridor as the lands that include a railbed for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor and any future acquisition that may be considered for classification as a travel corridor, existing either (1) for the operation of rail cars and/or (2) to serve as a rail trail. This revision to the guidelines for management and use applies to other railroad corridors with rails, acquired by the State, following classification as a Travel Corridor.
The Agency’s Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) for this APSLMP amendment action was accepted by the Agency Board on March 8, 2018. The Agency held public hearings in Ray Brook, Old Forge, and Albany. Over 100 people attended the hearings. The Agency also accepted written public comment until May 2018 during which time nearly 600 comments were submitted. These comments were carefully considered and responses were included in the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS), completed in December 2018.
Both rail and rail trail uses can contribute to recreational opportunities in the Park, while simultaneously increasing appreciation of the unparalleled landscape quality of the Adirondack Mountain region. In addition, the recreational opportunities enhance the personal health and well-being of visitors and Park residents. The recommended amendment includes guidance to ensure that the physical, biological, scenic and open space resources of Travel Corridors and their adjacent lands are protected.
The area subject to this amendment includes approximately 1,078 miles of State and Interstate Highways, the 119-mile Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor and any future acquisition of railroad corridors with existing rails classified as a travel corridor.
Primarily, the definitional changes and revisions to the guidelines for management and use and related provisions correspond to rail and rail trail uses in the Adirondack Park. These proposals provide elaboration and clarification of the guidelines applicable to railroad corridors to reflect evolving demands and uses including recreation and commuting.
The APSLMP states that planning is an on-going process and, as public use of the State lands expands or changes, land use controls may require reanalysis. Protection and preservation of the natural resources of the State lands within the Park must be paramount. Human use and enjoyment of those lands should be permitted and encouraged, so long as the resources in their physical and biological context, as well as their social or psychological aspects, are not degraded.
The mission of the Adirondack Park Agency is to protect the public and private resources of the Adirondack Park through the exercise of the powers and duties of the Agency as provided by law. For more information, call the APA at (518) 891-4050 or visit their website.
Photo of APA building in Ray Brook.