The Adirondack Railway Preservation Society has asked a judge to prohibit the state from moving forward with a plan to remove 34 miles of railroad tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.
In a lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court, the nonprofit organization contends that the plan to divide a state-owned railroad corridor into a rail segment and trail segment violates the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and the state Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Law.
It names as defendants the Adirondack Park Agency, APA Chairwoman Lani Ulrich, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and Basil Seggos, the DEC acting commissioner.
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced approval of a controversial plan to remove state-owned railroad tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake to create a 34-mile multi-use trail. In addition, the state is committed to restoring 45 miles of tracks between Big Moose and Tupper Lake.
The governor’s announcement is a victory for Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA) and a defeat for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad (ASR), which operates a tourist train on a 10-mile stretch of tracks that will be removed. Later in the day, ASR revealed that it recently filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court seeking to save the tracks.
ARTA President Joe Mercurio, who lives in Saranac Lake, said he was thrilled by the governor’s announcement. “ARTA and a great many others have worked long and hard for this,” he said. “Governor Cuomo deserves a huge round of applause for his support. It was the right thing to do.”
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.
The Adirondack Park Agency voted 9-1 Thursday afternoon to approve a proposal to divide a state-owned rail corridor into a rail segment and a trail segment.
The proposal calls for removing 34 miles of track between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake and fixing up 45 miles of largely unused track between Tupper Lake and Big Moose. The trail would be used by snowmobiles in winter and by bicyclists and other recreationists the rest of the year.
By this stage the NYS APA, DEC, and DOT may feel justified that they have adequately addressed public comments about the future of the Remsen-Lake Placid Railroad Travel Corridor. Having hosted listening sessions in 2013-14 and several public comment periods in 2015, the last one concluding in December, the DEC’s unit management plan amendment goes on, page after page, responding to questions and comment. The DEC responses justify the preferred alternative of separate corridor segments; segment one with rail from Remsen terminating at Tupper Lake, the other, an all-recreational segment two between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, without rail. The underlying economic studies doubtless contributed to the result, as do the physical obstacles to rail with trail, but the compromise seems almost unavoidable in light of the often clamorous, divided public point and counterpoint.
Still, one would have hoped that in its mailing to Agency members this month APA staff would have gone the extra mile in describing and analyzing the public comments in explaining why the Travel Corridor UMP amendment, and the creation of the two corridor segments (and much else in the UMP) complies with the State Land Master Plan. That was the purpose of the public comment period ending in mid-December. That is the decision APA Members will have to make next week in Ray Brook. The case for compliance, the major policy issues facing the APA, and staff’s assessment of public comment letters visa vi those important policy questions should form the basis of an informed decision, right? » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency staff has concluded that a controversial proposal to replace the railroad tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake with a recreational trail conforms to the Park’s State Land Master Plan.
The APA board is scheduled to vote next week on a resolution approving a plan to bifurcate the state-owned rail corridor into a rail segment and a trail segment.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation and state Department of Transportation adopted the plan last year over the objections of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and its supporters.
The departments intend to remove 34 miles of track between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, in favor of a trail for bicycling, snowmobiling, and other activities, and refurbish 45 miles of track between Big Moose and Tupper Lake. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency has received a flood of letters and emails seeking to influence its forthcoming decision on the future of a state-owned rail corridor that extends 119 miles from Remsen to Lake Placid.
At its November meeting, the APA board voted to solicit public comments on whether a plan to split the corridor into a trail segment and a rail segment complies with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. The agency may vote on the matter as early as next month.
Comments were accepted through December 18. Pursuant to a freedom-of-information request, the Adirondack Almanack recently obtained and reviewed the comments. The PDF file provided by the agency comprises 373 pages, but it includes some duplication. » Continue Reading.
Two environmental groups disagree on whether a state proposal to remove 34 miles of train tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid complies with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.
In a news release last week, the Adirondack Council praised the proposal, calling it “a good compromise” that protects natural resources and addresses the economic and cultural needs of the region.
Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, however, contends that the proposal violates the State Land Master Plan. The proposal would amend the corridor’s unit management plan (UMP) from 1996. » Continue Reading.
The Harrietstown Town Board voted Thursday night in favor of keeping the local railroad tracks in place, but it’s uncertain what effect the resolution will have on a state proposal to remove the tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.
On a motion by Councilman Howard Riley, the board voted 4-0 to support keeping the tracks. The resolution says the rail line provides “a positive impact on the area.”
Harrietstown includes the village of Saranac Lake, whose depot is used by two local businesses: Adirondack Scenic Railroad, which runs tourist trains to and from Lake Placid, and Rail Explorers USA, which runs pedal-power excursions to and from Lake Clear.
Rail Explorers, which began operations in July, says it attracted almost 15,000 riders in its first season, which ended in the fall. » Continue Reading.
The wrangling over the future of the state-owned rail corridor that stretches 119 miles from Remsen to Lake Placid has proved to be one of the most contentious issues in the Adirondack Park in recent years.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation received hundreds of public comments, raising many of the same questions that have appeared in articles and comments on Adirondack Almanack.
In their final plan for the corridor, the departments summarized the comments and provided their official responses. Given the public interest in this topic, the Almanack is reprinting those comments and responses. The result is a post that is much longer than usual. Of course, you don’t have to read all the comments, but we bet some people will.
The Adirondack Park Agency intends to seek public comment on a plan to remove the railroad tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake to create a recreational trail, but agency officials do not foresee any legal obstacles to the controversial proposal.
The APA has little authority to alter the proposal. Rather, its role is to determine whether it complies with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.
If all goes as planned, the state would open the recreational trail in 2017 at the earliest.» Continue Reading.
The state will allow Adirondack Scenic Railroad to run its tourist trains for just one more season on the tracks between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, according to a final proposal by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and state Department of Transportation.
In the proposal, released last week, the departments are sticking with their original plan to remove 34 miles of track between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake – the north end of a 119-mile rail corridor owned by the state. » Continue Reading.
Groups working to preserve the historic Adirondack Railroad corridor have announced that a rally will be held on November 7th at noon at the Saranac Lake Union Depot.
The State of New York has proposed an amended Unit Management Plan, calling for the conversion of the Rail Corridor between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid to a 34-mile recreational trail. » Continue Reading.
Mary-Joy Lu and Alex Catchpoole worked in advertising in New York City for 20 years and decided to get out. This year they started a rail-biking business in Saranac Lake that has been successful far beyond their expectations.
Since opening Rail Explorers on July 3, they have sold nearly 10,000 tickets for a six-mile trip between Saranac Lake and Charlies Inn at Lake Clear Junction. In addition to themselves, Lu and Catchpoole employ 15 people (though the staff will be pared when they close for the season next month). » Continue Reading.
It comes as no surprise that the state has received hundreds of comments on its two-part proposal to (i) replace 34 miles of railroad tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake with a recreational trail and (ii) rehabilitate 45 miles of tracks south of Tupper Lake to Big Moose. » Continue Reading.
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