The Adirondack Rail Trail Association (ARTA), the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce, and the New York State Snowmobile Association will hold a “Trail Towns” update on the status of the Adirondack Rail Trail for Tri-Lakes businesses and community leaders on October 12 at 3 p.m. in the Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake. The presentation and subsequent discussion will share ideas with attendees on how the communities and businesses along the corridor can coordinate their visitor services, outreach and messaging, and common support services as the rail trail comes to life.
The first issue of a new brochure with trail map will be made available at the meeting. The second issue, in early 2023, will promote businesses and attractions along the corridor. The 34-mile Adirondack Rail Trail, currently being constructed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation on an old railroad bed, will connect the Tri-Lakes communities of the northern Adirondack Park as never before. The first 9-mile section, between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, is scheduled to open, with proper signage and amenities, in mid-2023. The entire trail connecting Lake Placid and Tupper Lake should be surfaced and open by 2025. Even in its unfinished state, the trail already sees moderate use. For winter activities it is fully operational with skiers and snowmobilers using the trail and visiting local businesses. For warm-weather users, the surface is rough but is now being used by local walkers and fat-tire and mountain bikers.
According to a study commissioned by the Rails to Trails Conservancy, when fully complete the trail will attract over 250,000 new out-of-town visitors and more than 100,000 local users each year. The economic benefit to the region in the warm weather months alone should be over $20 million in new visitor spending annually. Snowmobiling benefits should add substantially to this figure, as the trail now makes the winter connections from Old Forge, Tug Hill, Malone, and points north much simpler and safer than ever before. The Adirondack Rail Trail will bring environmental, economic, and quality of life benefits to the Tri-Lakes region. Planning for these opportunities requires cooperation now by the seven local governments along the corridor and by the businesses that will benefit from this new traffic and tourism spending.
ARTA will help with this coordination, will publish brochures with trail maps and business directories, and will maintain interactive maps with current trail conditions. ARTA will also offer to represent the multiple Trail Towns in negotiations with concessionaires, sponsors, advertisers, each other, and state agencies to maximize the economic and quality of life benefits of the trail. This will include such things as snowmobile trailer parking locations, connector trails, restroom facilities, in-town branded signage, and promotion of amenities, essential services, and participating businesses.
ARTA is a twelve-year-old 501c3 public not-for-profit with a 14-member local board. In addition to grant funding, ARTA is currently supported by tax-deductible donations. Local business advertising in the next version of the trail map will also provide essential support. ARTA board members include representatives of the Tri-lakes business community, the local snowmobile clubs and the state association, and community leaders. The association’s charter provides for representation from all the Trail Towns along the corridor. ARTA board membership participation will also be addressed on the 12.
This introductory meeting is open to all local businesses, community organizations, government agencies, and community leaders. For more information, email info@AdirondackRailTrail.org.
All photos provided by ARTA.