To the editor:
Years ago my wife and I camped along the Cape Cod bikeway (ex-railroad) and had a very enjoyable experience riding our bikes along the converted rail bed. We have also biked along the Erie Canal in the Pittsford-Fairport and Macedon-Palmyra areas on a number of occasions and always enjoyed the ride. Having a safe, flat, smooth pathway with pedestrians as the only obstacles makes for a wonderful ride. Having a route through nearly undisturbed wild forest would be even better.
The thoughts of hundreds of tourists boarding the train in Syracuse or elsewhere for an overnight or weekend excursion to the Adirondacks is enough to warm the heart of anyone in the travel or tourism business. However, realistically speaking, once the novelty of the trip has worn off and the train aficionados have had their fill, the cost of running and maintaining the rolling stock and the infrastructure of the railroad will far outstrip the revenue generated. Having enjoyed the rail trip on the Rocky Mountaineer from Banff to Vancouver, once was enough, and I don't have any desire to do it again. Railroads need to carry freight in order to break even, and a rail line through the Adirondacks will never experience that kind of revenue.
Therefore, I am wholeheartedly in favor of the bikeway-walkway-snowmobile trail. If it were to be extended from Lake Placid to Old Forge, I believe that it would rival the Northville-Placid Trail if some lean-tos were built along the way. The chance to observe birds and wildlife along the way would be better than many of the current bike trails in the Northeast. In short, I feel that it is an idea whose time has come and it is time to quit talking about it and get started.
Warren S. Harman