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P.O. Box 1081, Saranac Lake, NY 12983 / info@TheARTA.org                               

Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates

Background

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.

Many corridors have been converted with great local benefits, click here for some samples.

Breaking News

The NYSDOT and NYSDEC held four public hearings, comment period still open.

Click here for details and see below for action items.

Public comment on amending the UMP is being accepted until December 15. Comments can be sent by email to nystravelcorridor@dot.ny.gov, mailed to NYS Travel Corridor, NYS DOT Freight and Passenger Rail Bureau, 50 Wolf Road, POD 5-4, Albany NY 12232 or provided verbally during four public comment meetings scheduled to take place:

See our News tab for the latest information.  Note the article on probable State bias in its presentations at the public hearings.  Please send comments to the State as noted above if you want this to be a fair and open process based on facts!

AdirondackRailTrail.org goes live!

The official website for the Adirondack Rail Trail is now live, with an interactive trail map, connecting hiking, biking and snowmobile trails, local businesses, etc.  Over time, all local amenities along the trail - restaurants, motels, bike shops, healthcare facilities, beaches, etc. will be added as icons with interactive links describing the business, service, or amenity.  If you want to have your business or a local amenity added simply go to our sign-up tab and you will find a separate place to indicate your interest at the bottom of the form.

Two more towns vote for the multi-use Adirondack RailTrail

The town boards of Tupper Lake and Harrietstown both voted unanimously to change their request from asking the State to review the corridor management plan to asking the State to go directly and immediately to creating the recreation trail between Lake Placid and Old Forge.

400 Businesses Petition State for the Adirondack Rail Trail

Attached is the list by town of business asking the State to build the Adirondack Rail Trail now.

North Elba wants tracks gone, favors multi-use trail

The town board also shelved plans to spend $2.6 million on a new trail that would have run parallel to the train tracks. Full story here.

ARTA releases its detailed proposal for the Adirondack Rail Trail
On September 6th, 2013 ARTA released a detailed proposal for the construction of the Adirondack Rail Trail and an associated PowerPoint Presentation.  At the same time, ARTA sent printed copies of this proposal to all of the relevant State agencies, Assemblymen and Senators, Town Supervisors, and news organizations along with a press release.  In addition to the detailed proposal, ARTA released a large-format flyer showing the proposed trail and amenities along the way, as well as a detailed trail map.

ARTA is calling on its members to write to the corridor management review team (see below) in support of the Rail Trail proposal.

Rail Corridor Review Under Way

After almost two years of prodding, over 12,000 petitions, resolutions by nearly every town and village along the corridor, articles and editorials in favor of the Adirondack Rail Trail in all of our local papers, New York has finally agreed to review its management plan for the rail corridor connecting the Tri-Lakes Area with Old Forge.   

Written comments also may be submitted by Sept. 25 to

NYSTravelCorridor@dot.ny.gov, faxed to 518-457-3183, or mailed to

Raymond F. Hessinger, Director, Freight & Passenger Rail Bureau, NYS Department of Transportation, 50 Wolf Road, POD 54, Albany, NY 12232.

 Your voice counts: please let the State know that you want a recreation trail!

How we are accomplishing our goal

  • We are gathering signatures to demonstrate the public interest in a recreation trail. Over 11,500 people have signed so far
  • We are seeking support from the towns and villages who will most benefit from the trail. The economic benefits have been made clear in multiple studies, and we are conducting additional studies to show the feasibility and benefits of rail conversion.
  • We will ask NYSDOT and NYSDEC to modify the Unit Management Plan to adopt the 1995 alternative to rail service, i.e., a recreational trail
  • We will continue to work with the state agencies to create an operating manager for the new recreation trail and to oversee its construction.

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 Adirondack Rail Trail
The trail will initially run from Lake Placid to Tupper Lake via Ray Brook, Saranac Lake, Lake Clear, and Floodwood.  A second stage will connect Tupper Lake to Old Forge.