To the editor:
I want to thank the Tupper Lake trustees for standing up to the status quo and asking for the state to review and update the UMP (unit management plan) for the travel corridor connecting Lake Placid and Remsen. (Notice that it is officially called a travel corridor and not a rail corridor, thus allowing for other means of transportation besides rail.) The 4-to-1 vote shows that the trustees have listened to their constituents and are hearing what they are saying.
Mr. Maroun shared with me his reasons for being the lone vote against, and I quote: "The environmental groups will use the opening of the UMP to dismantle the corridor and stop all motor vehicle traffic in the corridor."
I would like to address that particular issue our mayor and others are using to prevent progress in our community. There is no "conspiracy" between Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates and any environmental or preservation group to dismantle the corridor so that there will be no snowmobiles allowed. If snowmobiles are not permitted, then bicycles won't be, either. Many of our supporters want this as a bicycle trail, and many of them are also environmentalists.
Using fear and paranoia to try and stop progress will not benefit anyone. Tupper Lake has been run on fear long enough. Remember: "The only thing to fear is fear itself."
What this community should be afraid of is becoming irrelevant to the Adirondacks as a whole and to the entire Tri-Lakes community. It's time to embrace the assets that we have and to provide the necessary infrastructure improvements to entice people to come here. In the past, Tupper has been fortunate to be a recipient of New York state jobs and one large private employer. Because of those lucrative positions, we have lost most of our private enterprises. We have seen what happens when one large employer leaves a small town.
We cannot rely on large employers, whether state or private, to sustain us. We need to start the reinvention of this community quickly and with conviction, or we will lose what we currently have left. Already our young are leaving Tupper to go live in Saranac Lake or Lake Placid and elsewhere. Our real estate is stagnant, and the few businesses here are struggling mightily. Tupper Lake is a beautiful community with astounding natural assets that have not been capitalized on because of this paralyzing fear of environmentalists. Let's embrace the environment and start capitalizing on it instead of fighting it all the time. We've got a great start with the Wild Center; let's keep going.
Change is inevitable. Do we want change for the better or change for the worse? Do we want to have a say in what happens here? No one has moved to Old Forge because of the train; no one has moved to Lake Placid because of the train. If people don't start moving to Tupper Lake, we are doomed. Let's do something to entice people to move here. Active baby boomers are looking for places to retire. Let's be that place!
Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates