To the editor:
During my current visit to Saranac Lake, where I am staying with family, I had the opportunity to be present at a gathering in support of the Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates. I was amazed at the prospect of a bicycle path of this dimension through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
I live in Portugal, where recreational bicycling is increasingly popular. More and more cyclists can be seen on the roads, at all times of day, despite the facts that very few roads have shoulders and the cyclists have to contend with traffic (cars, trucks, tractors, combine harvesters, etc.) and not always very civic-minded drivers. Furthermore, cities in Spain and Portugal have started incorporating urban bike paths ("ciclo vias") as a transportation and recreational alternative.
In Europe, the railroad serves a large percentage of the population every day. Trains are an indispensable mode of transportation, and although they are comfortable, clean, economical and often scenic, they are not a tourist attraction. So when I heard what it cost to restore and maintain the tourist train between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, and how little actual use it gets, it seemed so obvious how much more enjoyment a bike trail would provide to many more people. I couldn't help thinking how the cyclists in Spain and Portugal would kill to be able to ride on a trail like the one proposed here.
Lisa Carvalho e Silva