DEC releases conceptual rail trail plan

Public meetings will begin next week

RAY BROOK — A series of public meetings have been scheduled on the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s conceptual plan for a proposed rail trail between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake.

The Draft Adirondack Rail Trail Conceptual Plan was released Monday for public review and comment, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced in a press release. He said it outlines the general design and features of the planned 34-mile, multi-use recreational trail on the bed of the railroad corridor between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake.

“The Draft Adirondack Rail Trail Conceptual Plan is an important step in developing a unique, world class outdoor recreation trail like no other in the Adirondacks, New York state, or the nation,” Seggos said in the release. “The rail trail will connect the villages of Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, providing visitors and residents with new opportunities to walk, hike, and bike in three seasons, and cross-country ski, snowshoe and snowmobile in winter, boosting local economies in surrounding communities all year long.”

The draft plan provides design recommendations based on the input from the Adirondack Rail Trail Stakeholder group. DEC says the goal is to develop and manage a recreational trail that maximizes public use by residents and visitors of all abilities, ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for trail users, and minimizes negative effects on natural resources, adjacent residents and other trail users.

The draft plan describes a 10-foot wide stone dust tread for the full 34-mile length of the trail with shoulders a minimum width of 2.5 feet on each side. DEC says the trail and its amenities would comply with American Disabilities Act requirements to the maximum extent possible to ensure it is accessible for use by people of all abilities. The trail will also connect to numerous hiking, biking, paddling, fishing and camping opportunities on the adjacent lands and waters of the Adirondack Forest Preserve, DEC says.

Four public information sessions about the plan will take place, followed by two DEC public input meetings.

Tupper Lake Supervisor Patricia Littlefield said in the press release that the meetings are an “exciting opportunity for all the Tri-Lakes communities.

“It is a pleasure working with our neighboring stakeholders, as well as the DEC, and we look forward to this project coming to fruition,” she said.

Harrietstown Deputy Supervisor Ed Goetz said the town has reviewed the draft conceptual plan.

“It appears that this venture will meet the needs and requirements of all those individuals who will be using the trail for a wide variety of outdoor activities,” Goetz wrote.

“The Adirondack Rail Trail will provide an opportunity for cyclists, walkers and cross-country skiers of all abilities to experience remote Adirondack woodlands on an improved trail surface,” said village of Saranac Lake Trustee Rich Shapiro. “The trail will provide Saranac Lake with easy intra-village connections for shopping, recreating and commuting, and inter-village connections to Tupper Lake, DEC campgrounds, Ray Brook and Lake Placid. The trail will provide year-round opportunities for both visitors and residents.”

DEC will host two meetings on the conceptual plan, on May 9 and 10. Each will include an availability session from 3 to 5 p.m. and a public meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. DEC says it will answer questions and accept comments during each of the two afternoon availability sessions. DEC staff will share a presentation and offer the public the opportunity to comment on the draft plan during the evening public meetings.

The May 9 meeting will be held in the Community Room of the Tupper Lake Emergency Services Building at 31 Santa Clara Ave. The May 10 meeting will take place in the main conference room of the DEC Region 5 Headquarters, 1115 State Route 86, Ray Brook.

The Draft Conceptual Plan is available to view or download on the DEC website at Copies of the Draft Conceptual Plan are also available for review at DEC Region 5 Headquarters in Ray Brook and the municipal offices of the villages of Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, and Lake Placid, and the towns of Tupper Lake, Santa Clara, Harrietstown, and North Elba.

Public comments will be accepted until close of business June 2, 2017. Written comments may be mailed to Senior Forester Steve Guglielmi, NYSDEC Region 5, P.O. Box 296, Ray Brook, NY 12977, or sent by email to

Information sessions

The municipalities along the rail trail corridor have scheduled four public information sessions where they will present the Draft Conceptual Plan and answer questions from attendees:

– The village of Saranac Lake and town of Harrietstown will host two meetings: May 1 and May 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Cantwell Community Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library, 109 Main St., Saranac Lake

– The village and town of Tupper Lake: May 3, 6 to 8 p.m. in the Downstairs Community Room of Goff-Nelson Memorial Library, 41 Lake St., Tupper Lake

– The village of Lake Placid and town of North Elba: May 4, 6 to 8 p.m. in the First Floor Meeting Room of the North Elba Town Hall, 2693 Main St., Lake Placid.