By now, you’ve probably heard about NY State’s 34-mile rail-trail project between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks. Originally proposed a few years ago, the project resulted in a lawsuit and a NY State Supreme Court Justice annulling the state’s plan.
Despite the judge’s decision back in September 2017, the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has moved forward with their proposal to approve an amendment to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, an amendment that would help get the rail-trail project back on track.
A Recap of the Rail-Trail Case
In September 2017, the judge in charge of the rail-trail case, acting NY State Supreme Court Justice Robert Main, annulled and vacated the state’s plan for three key reasons:
- The state departments did not provide sufficient evidence on how they would comply with New York’s historic-preservation law in regard to removing the historic tracks. The law currently prevents projects from having a negative effect on historic sites.
- The state departments did not provide sufficient evidence to resolve ongoing land dispute issues.
- Most importantly, removing the 34 miles of railroad track would remove Segment 2 from the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor designation, which could not be allowed in a Unit Management Plan for the corridor.
In response, NY State filed a notice of appeal a few months later, giving them time to finalize their argument and appeal the judge’s ruling.
New Developments with the Adirondack Park Agency
On March 8, 2018, the APA sent out a press release announcing they had proposed and given preliminary approval to a new amendment to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan involving the classification and definition of travel corridors.
The amendment defines a railroad corridor as “the lands that include a railbed for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor and any future acquisition that may be considered for classification as a travel corridor, existing either (1) for the operation of rail cars or (2) to serve as a rail trail.”
In short, the amendment would allow for both rail operations on a railroad corridor and the conversion of any portion of a railroad corridor that has been determined appropriate for a rail-trail as part of an approved Unit Management Plan.
This clarifying amendment would, if approved, enable the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation to convert Segment 2 of the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor into a rail-trail.
A Public Comment Period
For the APA, the next step is to accept comments and hold three public hearing sessions throughout April 2018. Public comments will be accepted until May 7, 2018.
To voice your opinion on the proposed amendment, you may attend the upcoming public hearings:
- April 11, 2018 at 7:00pm – Location: Adirondack Park Agency at 1133 NYS Route 86, Ray Brook, NY
- April 24, 2018 at 7:00pm – Location: View Arts Center, 3273 NYS Route 28, Old Forge, NY
- April 25, 2018 – 11:00am – Location: NYS DEC Offices, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY
What are your thoughts about the APA’s new Travel Corridor amendment?
- Adirondack Park Agency – APA Announces Public Comment Period For Travel Corridor Amendment