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Planning and execution

To the editor:

Option 6 specified that a trail should be built within the corridor wherever feasible. This option meets the needs and desires of all factions/groups interested in the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor. The lack of a trail is evidence of the lack of will.

There was matching funding for a trail between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid that the community leadership did nothing to obtain the necessary match. Even though the Army Corps of Engineers stated that a trail would need to go through wetlands if it were to remain within the transportation corridor, they did not prohibit the trail from doing so. Nor did the Corps of Engineers prohibit rerouting a trail around the wetlands. Water continues to flow even if portions are widened; the wetland fauna will re-establish itself. Proof of this is the new beaver ponds along the corridor that create new wetlands.

The solution for the trail is simple. Use the recommendations of the trails-with-rails group, and use the Department of Transportation land bank where required. Although there is no requirement for an entirely new trail, a 12-foot-wide path that is 34 miles long is 49.6 acres from the current 400-acre DOT land bank. Use the land bank where necessary, and get the parallel trail done.

Where were the community’s efforts to regain the lost funding for track renovation? Where were the Adirondack Park Agency, Department of Environmental Conservation and DOT efforts to obtain the funding required for the approved option 6? It does no good to go through a quality planning process to approve a unit management plan, then fail to execute that plan. Let us not forget that the only reason there is no rail service from Utica to Lake Placid or parallel trail was the state’s failure to fund the approved plan. This failure was due to re-programming of funds to some other project. Given that the executive branch is responsible for execution of these plans, make them execute! Otherwise a UMP is just words on paper, equivalent to political hot air. Where there is a will, there is a way. Both the rails and the trails can exist together to provide synergistic economic benefit.

Now let’s hear from the entire community to inspire our government leaders, from village to state, to abide by the plans made and approved.

James Pierson

Saranac Lake

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