On Thursday he Adirondack Park Authority determined that a proposal to remove the rails between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid doesn’t conflict with the State Land Master Plan.
That plan (SLMP) serves as the foundation for all the restrictions and the permitted uses on State land. The State Dept. of Environmental Conservation came up with this “compromise” to satisfy calls for a recreational trail to be built on the railroad Travel Corridor.
The DEC was charged with creating a trail system in 1996, but has never taken any steps toward that goal.
If they had, we would not be facing the hurdles we are today.
There is an existing network of trails, seasonal roads and abandoned logging roads that can be developed into a first-class trail system that connects Lake Placid and Tupper Lake without removing any track.
A group call TRAC has given the State maps of the route and GPS coordinates to prove the viability of the network.
But the DEC has proposed destroying a historic railroad as the preferred alternative.
Local and County governments from the Mohawk Valley to the High Peaks have called for restoration of the railroad.
Tourism and economic development professionals have supported the retention of the rails.
But their support was ignored. Instead, the DEC has done a disservice to the People of the State of New York by insisting on this plan.
The APA has refused to even demand a more thoughtful plan that answers the questions raised by over 200 concerned citizens.
Both agencies have rushed the process and endangered the environmental and economic future of the region.
ASR will continue the fight for the restoration of the ENTIRE railroad.
We will continue to operate one of the most successful tourist attractions in the region.
And we will continue to look to Albany, the Governor and the Legislature, for a plan that offers both rails AND trails to the region’s residents and visitors.
Bill Branson, President
Bethan Maher, Exec. Dir.