P.O. Box 1081
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates
Other than a seasonal tourist train between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake the former New York Central line from Lake Placid to Old Forge has been unused for passenger service since 1965 and freight since 1972. The seasonal tourist train between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake was provided for in the 1995 Unit Management Plan as an experiment that had to prove itself through market development for the benefit of the local economies. In addition, the operator was committed to upgrading the entire line from Lake Placid to Old Forge to Class III service (60 MPH max) at its expense. This experiment has failed: ridership has never exceeded 14,000 per annum and the New York Department of Transportation continues to expend massive amounts to keep the corridor open and the limited train service running. A current option being pursued by the Town of North Elba is to construct a parallel bike trail from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake at a cost of no less than $4.4 million. While we think it is time to re-examine the entire premise on which the tourist train was permitted, whether or not this path is constructed we want a contiguous recreation trail from Lake Placid to Old Forge. This means that if the tourist train continues to operate it will have to do so from a base in Lake Placid, freeing the remaining 81 miles for recreation use.
ARTA calls on State to open the corridor management plan for a complete review, joining with the towns and villages below in pressing the State to perform the steps it imposed on itself 18 years ago. The press release is linked here and the letter to the State here.
The Colton has joined in the parade of towns, counties, villages and associations who are calling for revision of the rail corridor's Unit Management Plan (UMP) or for immediate removal of the tracks. Here is the scorecard to date:
ARTA is running endorsement ads with four local Olympic biathletes in Adirondack Life, the Adirondack Explorer, Sports & Fitness, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and the Lake Placid News.The Rails to Trails Conservancy report says that constructing the Adirondack Rail Trail will bring over 200,000 visitors and add $20 million to our local economies every year!
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