The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) has joined with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in a joint effort to hear from the public in 4 listening sessions during September. The DOT heard from key stakeholders including The Adirondack Recreational Trail Associates and The Adirondack Rail Preservation Society. Both stakeholders were given separate hearings to make their case to the DOT with regard to their particular goals.
We speak with those key stakeholders, residents, business owners and local legislators about their views on updating the Corridor Unit Management Plan;
Currently, the corridor runs from Remsen on the south end through Thendara and big moose and then through Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake and Lake Placid at the North End.. The train service runs from Utica over a private railroad to Remsen and then it joins the state owned corridor from Remsen over to Big Moose. There is also a short section at the northernmost portion of the corridor which is used from Saranac Lake to Lake Placid.. During consideration of the original Unit Management Plan, the DOT had six options / alternatives;
1) Dismantle the corridor – DOT would sell all the property and give it up
2) DOT would continue to own the corridor but not do anything with it.
3) DOT would continue to own the corridor, do some minimal maintenance but only allow short term occupancies by permit.
4) The fourth alternative involved removal of the rail over the entire length of the corridor and allowing use of the corridor for recreational purposes over it’s entire length..
5) The Fifth was to break the corridor up in chunks.. where some chunks would keep the rail and in some the tracks would be removed and it would become trail..
6) The sixth choice was to continue the rail uses over the entire length of the corridor and to encourage compatible uses and trails where they were feasible..
The final plan in 1996 adopted alternative number 6 – The plan states that title for the lands will remain under the state of New York, and it will retain it’s travel corridor status under the states land use master plan and that the rail tracks would remain over the entire lengths and that the rails would not be removed prior to the revision of the master plan and new EIS. It also provided for private enterprise to establish tourist excursion, passenger and freight rail services and that DEC would pursue recreational trail opportunities for snowmobiles, bicycles and hiking that were compatible with the rail use and the environment provided steps were taken to deter trespass onto adjacent properties