Last month, I wrote about the DEC and DOT’s combined proposal to re-purpose a portion of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad into a multi-use trail, while repairing other sections of the track. After a public hearing on the issue last week, it remains clear that there is still a deep divide between those who support the proposal and those who oppose it.
Photo Credit: Railroad Tracks via photopin (license)
North Country Public Radio reported that for the most part, those in attendance at the public hearing kept it civil when expressing their concerns about ripping up parts of a 130-year old railroad. 40 people spoke, and many expressed their support for the plan, including the New York State Snowmobile Association and the town of Tupper Lake.
Those who oppose the plan can be split into two groups: railroad supporters and trail supporters. The first group would like to see the entire railway restored from Remsen to Lake Placid. The second is in favor of ripping up all of the tracks, and implementing a multi-use trail in their place. Both groups were present at the hearing.
NCPR identified Lake Placid Snowmobile Club president and Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates leader Jim McCulley’s “skepticism that the train will ever bring a big and steady influx of tourists to Tupper Lake.” On the opposite side, Historic Saranac Lake representative Amy Catania “said tearing up the tracks would destroy an important part of the Park’s legacy.”
Aside from the DEC and DOT’s proposed compromise, a letter to the editor of The Times Union suggested redirecting resources to improving one of the Adirondacks’ existing rail-trails: the Bloomingdale Bog Trail, which runs from west of Saranac Lake to the Buck Pond State Campgrounds.
In order to ensure that all parties have an opportunity to make their voices heard, another public hearing will be taking place next Monday, July 20, at 4:00PM in Utica. The Associated Press reported that this hearing was requested by those in favor of extending the railroad the entire way to Lake Placid. Public comments will be accepted by state officials until the end of July, and a unit management plan is expected to be solidified by the end of 2015.