Here’s a recap with the audio from the story we originally posted online;
In April, the snow was already gone, and Carl Knoch, Manager for Trail Development in the Northeast Office of the Rails to Trails Conservancy is walking the railroad corridor betweenSaranacLakeandLake Placid.. Tony Goodwin and Jim McCulley are Members of the Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates board of directors and they’re walking with Knoch as the group looks first hand at the challenges involved in building a trail next to the tracks. The Town ofNorth Elbais moving forward, using a $3.2 million federal grant, on their recreational trail project between the two municipalities. If ARTA’s board is successful, this portion of the rail corridor would become the only section which retains track.
A newly released “Trail Development Plan” says a “parallel path between Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake is impractical and unaffordable; even if necessary permits to fill wetlands and expand causeways could be obtained.” The Report is presented to a group of about 100 onlookers at theHarrietstownTown HallinSaranacLakeon Wednesday evening. Knoch argues in his report that phase one of the Rail to Trail Conversion they propose could attract between 75,000 and 800,000 visitors annually with a mid point of 225,000 visitors per annum. In his presentation, Knoch suggests that the average out-of-area visitors will spend an average of $86.02 per day which will add just under $20 million in annual revenues to the local economy.
(And what of the cost of building the trail?)
The report estimates the cost of constructing a recreational trail to Tupper Lake on the rail corridor in the range of $87,000 per mile, and if you do the math, Phase one Expenses should come to… well nothing… or thereabouts because the report also purports salvage would yield about $65,000 per mile, Ok, then something, but then Phase one includes salvage of the entire 81 mile corridor between here and old forge and they’re estimate is that salvage will provide over $5 million ($5,265,000) in useable funds.
Hope Frenette is a Recreational Trail Advocates Board Member.. She says everywhere across the country where they build a trail like this, the communities grow.. (audio) Snowmobile advocate Jim McCulley says there was a study in 1998 done by the DOT,New YorkState Parksand Recreation and the New York State Snowmobile Association which says snowmobilers spend about $180 per day. (audio)
(“We The People”)
The ARTA board of Directors and The Rails to Trails Conservancy both submit that it should be up to the people to decide whether or not a recreational trail in the Adirondacks would benefit the region. One of their primary goals is to reach 10,000 registered supporters at which point they would like to begin their advocacy effort with local legislators and begin to reach out to Senator Little and to the Governor for the legislative backing they will need. Right now, the DOT runs the corridor and remains comfortable with the status quo, with no plans to remove the tracks.
This raw audio presents the meeting’s conversations from Lee Keet’s Closing comments to Audience Questions and Answers.
It’s a 45 minute excerpt from the two hour meeting – if you are so inclined, please feel free to have a listen.