In a statement following the announcement of the Re-Opening of the Adirondack Rail Corridor’s Unit Management Plan, Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA) applauds Governor Cuomo and the departments of transportation (DOT) and environmental conservation (DEC) for their decision to reopen the Unit Management Plan for the 119-mile Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor. Following further public input, the state will consider amending the UMP to convert the underutilized rail corridor connecting the Tri-lakes Area into a world-class recreation trail for bicycling, walking, running, communing with nature and for greatly improved snowmobiling from December through March.
This 34-mile section of the historic Remsen-Lake Placid railroad line will connect Lake Placid, Ray Brook, Saranac Lake, Lake Clear and Tupper Lake at the northern end of the corridor.
“Our local economies will benefit enormously from this new trail,” predicted Joe Mercurio, ARTA’s president. “And so will the health and happiness of visitors and residents, now and for generations to come. Governor Cuomo, who has been a champion of tourist development and community revitalization in the Adirondacks, has earned a place in the pantheon of Adirondack heroes for the state’s decision to make full economic use of this extraordinary public resource.” ARTA regards the conversion of the old rail corridor between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake as the “essential first step” in establishing a 90-mile Adirondack Rail Trail through the heart of this largest park in the contiguous United States.
The group is unhappy that the state will consider retaining the tracks over the 56-mile stretch of rail bed extending south from Tupper Lake to Old Forge.
ARTA nevertheless expressed confidence that this section of the corridor will soon be converted to a rail trail as well, due to popular demand. “Once public use and enjoyment of the first section is clearly established, I believe the public will overwhelmingly support extending the trail from Tupper Lake to Old Forge,” said Mercurio.
“On the other hand,” Mercurio added, “it would be unthinkable for the state to waste many millions of tax dollars restoring unneeded rail service between Old Forge and Tupper Lake, especially when the recreational and economic benefits of the trail between Lake Placid and Tupper become apparent.”
ARTA thanked the twelve municipalities along the corridor who have called on the state to convert the rail line to a recreation trail or, at the very least, review the corridor management plan to determine its best use. ARTA also thanked the 408 businesses along the corridor who called for the conversion, along with more than 12,000 individuals who petitioned Governor Cuomo in support of the Adirondack Rail Trail.
“This is a great victory for the Adirondack Park,” Mercurio said, “but many questions need answering and much work remains to be done.”