Green group supports state’s rail-trail plan

The Park’s biggest environmental group is going on the record in support of the state’s plan for the Adirondack railroad corridor.

The Adirondack Council issued a press release Thursday urging the state Adirondack Park Agency to approve an amendment to the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor that calls for removal of the railroad tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid and for restoration of train service between Big Moose and Tupper Lake.

“It’s a good compromise, protecting natural resources and is responsive to the economic, cultural and recreational needs expressed by the broad range of stakeholders engaged throughout the process,” Adirondack Council Executive Director William Janeway said in the release.

The Council hadn’t taken an official stand on the fate of the railroad corridor until now. After the state announced plans to reopen the Remsen-Lake Placid plan last year, the group asked the state departments of Transportation and Environmental Conservation to consider a series of criteria to judge any proposal to change the use of the corridor. One of the criteria was compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, which the APA will have to determine as the next step in the process.

“The DOT’s proposed alternative complies with the SLMP and is generally consistent with our public list of recommendations concerning the corridor,” Janeway said. “This plan protects the integrity of the travel corridor classification and provides positive outcomes for both the rail and recreational trail proponents, and local communities.”

However, the Council still has some concerns, including potential off-corridor impacts in wilderness areas. With regard to expanded snowmobile use, Janeway said, “The addition of any new alternative trails must meet all aspects of the 2009 Snowmobile Management Guidance document. This includes not creating redundant connector trails that would expand snowmobile use in inappropriate areas.”