A stakeholder process to determine the design and operation of the recreational trail between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake on the Remsen to Lake Placid Travel Corridor has begun, according to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Bob Stegemann.
The core stakeholder groups consist of the executive elected official or designee of the four towns and three villages along the trail, a representative from the Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates and representatives from the three primary user groups – cross country skiers, bicyclist and snowmobilers. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Preservation Society, operator of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, has announced the award of a $99,000 grant from The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties for a new repair facility.
This grant will supplement a $791,000 grant awarded by the New York State Department of Transportation, and help the Railroad leverage their “matching funds” obligation. » Continue Reading.
A few years ago I learned of a fascinating but rather forgotten individual in Adirondack history. Along with his slightly older mentor Ebenezer Emmons and his younger contemporary Verplanck Colvin, he was among the first to accurately survey much of the Adirondacks. His name was Farrand Benedict.
Farrand Northrop Benedict was born in New Jersey in 1803, the oldest of seven. His parents died in the early 1830s and he became something of a father figure for his younger siblings. Graduating from Hamilton College in 1823, Benedict studied law and engineering and taught surveying and mathematics in Virginia and in Western New York before taking a professorship at the University of Vermont in Burlington in 1833. Teaching mathematics and surveying, Professor Benedict was known affectionately as “Professor B” or “Little Ben”.
Farrand Benedict first arrived in the Adirondacks in 1835, exploring and working in the Adirondacks, often bringing his wife and his brothers. He visited every year, often several times a year, until 1855. » Continue Reading.
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.”
A program on the early 20th century trolley route from Warrensburg to Glens Falls will be presented at the Richards Library in Warrensburg on Sunday, May 15, at 3:30 by Paul Gilchrist, PhD.
Warrensburg was the northern terminus of the Hudson Valley Railway’s trolley line from 1902 until 1928. The presentation of photographs, maps, and aerial photos will follow a ceremony unveiling a roadside plaque marking the location of the Schroon River hydroelectric plant that supplied the trolley line » Continue Reading.
The Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls has opened a new mini-exibit through June 1st, on Railroads in the Adirondacks. The new exhibit “The Railroads: Gateways to the Adirondacks” features seventeen Seneca Ray Stoddard photos taken from 1870 to 1890.
Photos include the Glens Falls and North Creek train stations, the trestle over the Sacandaga River, the D&H cut near Willsboro and the Prospect Mountain cable RR. On his travels Stoddard also photographed trains, including The Battery in New York City and the Green Mountain railway on Mt. Desert Island in Maine. » Continue Reading.
William Seward Webb’s company began building the Adirondack & St. Lawrence Railroad in the spring of 1891. A year later, the line had not been completed when Webb made a promise to President Benjamin Harrison he was not sure he could fulfill. He promised the President and First Lady, Caroline Scott Harrison, they could ride his train to the Loon Lake House so she could spend the summer there to recover her health.
Near the end of Harrison’s term in 1892, Caroline’s tubercular condition worsened. The Harrisons and her physician considered a stay for her in the North Woods in a desperate move to improve her prospects. They contacted Ferd Chase of the Loon Lake House who offered a cottage for the summer. Learning this, Webb offered his assistance since Caroline’s condition limited her ability to withstand stage travel. He promised a ride by rail for most of the distance but Mrs. Harrison’s condition would determine the timing of the trip. » Continue Reading.
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.
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.
Protect the Adirondacks has released a proposal to expand Wilderness areas in the Adirondack Park by over 36,500 acres. This includes Wilderness classification for much of The Nature Conservancy/former Finch, Pruyn and Company lands that border the High Peaks Wilderness and the creation of a new West Stony Creek Wilderness area in the southern Adirondacks.
This would be the biggest expansion of Wilderness in the Adirondacks since Governor Pataki acted in 2000 to establish the 20,000-acre William C. Whitney Wilderness area, which included upgrading of the 7,500-acre Lake Lila Primitive Area to Wilderness, and expanded both the Five Ponds Wilderness and Pepperbox Wilderness by over 21,000 acres.
Ours is a realistic proposal that provides Wilderness classification and protection for the most important natural resource areas of the land involved. It also aims to facilitate motorized access for limited roads open to the public and snowmobiles. We make a good faith effort at providing a workable and realistic classification and management that complies with the law, protects natural resources, and meets the objectives of many different interests. » Continue Reading.
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.
While researching the Raquette Lake Railway, I found several historical traditions that were repeatedly used by authors in their works regarding the railroad’s origin. Below I examine these traditions and then provide my research on its origin from period correspondence and historical sources, including the rationale from the words of its builder, Collis P. Huntington. » Continue Reading.
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