To the editor:
New York state now has the opportunity to do something of lasting value for Adirondack residents and visitors by converting the 90-mile section of rail corridor between Lake Placid and Old Forge into a recreational trail that would be second to none in this country.
I have devoted much of the last 40 years to designing and developing trails, heritage areas and transit-oriented communities in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Based on my experience, I believe the Adirondack Rail Trail (as its advocates call it) could be a tourist destination of international importance. This peaceful, scenic, traffic-free travel corridor with minimal grades would encourage recreation of the most healthful kind for people of every age and in every stage of physical fitness. It would facilitate local travel by means other than motor vehicles. It would benefit trail users and nearby communities in every conceivable way: economically, environmentally, physically and spiritually (by fostering close contact and greater harmony with the natural world).
A bike trail through this largest park in the contiguous United States could ultimately link up with an international trail system. At its southern end it could connect with the Erie Canalway Trail that crosses the state. At its northern end it could utilize the rail corridor north from Lake Clear to the U.S. border, linking up with La Route Verte in Canada.
It seems clear that the Adirondack Rail Trail - the only recreational amenity conspicuously lacking in the Adirondack Park - would do the most good for the greatest number of people. This is what should guide the state's deliberation over the future use of this incredible public asset.
Very truly yours,
Robert P. Thomas, AIA, partner
Campbell Thomas & Co.