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 (APA), at its November board meeting, announced a public comment period for Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance regarding proposals from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to amend the 1996 Remsen – Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan (1996 Plan).
APA will accept Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance comments until December 18, 2015. » Continue Reading.
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.
After years of public debate and numerous public meetings, the state is nearing a final decision on the future of the rail corridor between Old Forge and Lake Placid, but railroad supporters and rail-trail advocates continue to disagree.
On Wednesday night, the Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation held a public hearing on its plan to remove 34 miles of track between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake and refurbish 45 miles of track between Tupper Lake and Big Moose (a depot northeast of Old Forge).
About 120 people attended the hearing at Tupper Lake’s high school, and 38 spoke. Some favored the state’s plan, seeing it as a reasonable compromise. Rail supporters, however, opposed the removal of tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, while trail advocates opposed the state’s spending millions of dollars to fix up the rail line south of Tupper Lake.
After four public meetings on the future of the eighty-mile rail corridor between Big Moose and Lake Placid, the public seems as divided as ever, and the state now must make a decision sure to leave many people unhappy.
The Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation plan to review the public comments and make a recommendation for the best use of the state-owned corridor. After the public has had a chance to weigh in on that recommendation, the departments will make a final decision. » Continue Reading.
Standing next to a small, unnamed stream near where it empties into Mountain Pond on a cool September day, scientist Dan Kelting reads a sensor he just dipped in the water to measure electrical conductivity, which is used to gauge road-salt concentrations.
Pure water is a poor conductor of electricity, but road salt, or sodium chloride, increases conductivity. Based on the conductivity reading (285 microsiemens per centimeter), Kelting calculates that the water contains 80 milligrams of chloride per liter. This means the stream contains roughly 160 times more chloride than a similar size stream a few miles away.
Why the difference? The stream near Mountain Pond, north of Paul Smith’s College, is downstream from Route 30, a state highway that is heavily salted in the winter. The other stream, which Kelting refers to as Smitty Brook, runs through the Forest Preserve and is upstream of roads. » Continue Reading.
The state Department of Transportation plans to repair eight bridges on state Route 73 from Saint Huberts to Keene during the next two years.
The bridge work is intended to make the structures more resilient to flooding by widening them, DOT officials told residents at a public meeting at the Keene Fire House Thursday evening. In addition, new steel and concrete foundations will make them more secure. Several bridges will also be raised.
“What the project will do is protect the bridges from severe weather,” said DOT project manager Richard Filkins.
Seven of the bridges will be repaired with funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The DOT will put that work out to bid in the near future and plans to choose a contractor early next year. » Continue Reading.
The state Department of Transportation estimates that it would cost about $20 million to convert 70 miles of rail corridor between Big Moose and Lake Placid to a recreational trail.
Joe Hattrup says he can do it for free.
Hattrup asserts that the sale of the rails and other steel hardware would cover the costs of removing the tracks and creating a trail that could be used by snowmobilers in winter and cyclists in other seasons. The trail would have a stone-dust surface suitable for road bikes.
At the first of four public meetings on the future of the Adirondack rail corridor, state officials made it clear Tuesday night that a rails-with-trails compromise is not an option–which likely did not sit well with the many supporters of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in the crowd.
About 100 people packed a room at the State Office Building in Utica to hear representatives of the Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation outline their plans for amending the 90-mile corridor’s management plan.
The departments have proposed removing the tracks in the 34-mile section between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid and building a multi-use trail for road biking, hiking, skiing, and snowmobiling. The state would retain and rehabilitate the tracks south of Tupper Lake.
The State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Transportation (DOT) have announced that they are seeking public input through December 15 on an amendment to the Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor (the Corridor). The UMP governs the use of the 119-mile rail corridor, which has been the subject of much recent debate over the future of the historic rail line. Four public comment sessions are scheduled to discuss the possible amendment.
According to the notice issued to the press: “DEC and DOT will develop a draft UMP amendment to evaluate the use of the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment for a recreational trail. The agencies say they are also examining opportunities to maintain and realize the full economic potential of rail service from Utica to Tupper Lake, and reviewing options to create and expand alternative snowmobile corridors, and other trails, to connect communities from Old Forge to Tupper Lake on existing state lands and conservation easements.” » Continue Reading.
If you’ve been following the debate over the Old Forge-to-Lake Placid rail corridor (and who hasn’t?), you probably have seen the widely disparate estimates on how much it would cost to restore rail service over the entire line.
The Adirondack Scenic Railroad says reconstructing the unused portion of the tracks—some sixty-eight miles—would cost about $15 million. Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA), which is pushing the state to replace the tracks with a multi-use trail, puts that figure at around $44 million.
After several years of public debate, the state has decided to consider tearing up the tracks and establishing a bike trail in at least part of a 90-mile rail corridor that cuts through the heart of the Adirondack wilderness.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation announced today that they would reopen the management plan for the corridor and look at establishing a recreational trail in the 34 miles between the villages of Tupper Lake and Lake Placid. In addition, the state will examine the possibility of expanding rail service on the rest of the line between Tupper Lake and Old Forge.
“Our goal is to protect our natural resources, while also exploring ways to increase opportunities for people to enjoy outdoor recreation activities in the Adirondacks,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a news release. “We recognize that the future of the Remsen-to-Lake Placid Travel Corridor is important to local residents, communities, and the regional economy.”
For more than two years, rail-trail activists have been pushing state officials to end decades of financial support for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and convert a ninety-mile rail corridor between Old Forge and Lake Placid into a year-round multi-use recreational trail.
Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA) has argued that the tourism train has been a financial failure, requiring too much taxpayer support, and claimed that a rail trail would provide a bigger tourism draw. » Continue Reading.
State officials are nearing a decision on whether to open the management plan for a railroad corridor that runs through Adirondack wilderness.
The future of the corridor has been the subject of public debate for a few years. At issue is whether the rails should be removed to create a multi-use recreational trail.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation held meetings in September to gather input from the public. On Wednesday, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said staff at both agencies have been reviewing and evaluating hundreds of comments.
Martens said a decision is not too far off. “It’s weeks, not months away, I’m hoping,” he told Adirondack Almanack.» Continue Reading.
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