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Writer misrepresents rail-trail study

To the editor:

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise Guest Commentary “Trail argument doesn’t hold up” by Larry Roth blatantly misrepresented the state’s analysis for a 34-mile Adirondack Rail Trail.

Mr. Roth asserted, “Trail advocates cite the economic study the state Department of Environmental Conservation used to justify the trail as creating the biggest bang for the buck, but the same study found an all-rail operation was close behind – and their preferred option, a trail all the way to Old Forge, was the worst of all.”

In fact, the Camoin study (www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/camoin.pdf) and the state analysis (www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/rlptcamend.pdf) considered three options: “all rail” (119 miles from Lake Placid to Remsen), “all trail” (Lake Placid to Remsen) and “combination” (34 miles from Lake Placid to Tupper Lake/trail, 85 miles from Tupper Lake to Remsen/rail). Neither Camoin nor the state even considered a 90-mile rail trail from Lake Placid to Old Forge, as asserted by Mr. Roth.

For the options considered, Camoin and the state found that the greatest economic impact would result from the “combination” of trail plus rail. They found that the “all rail” option would provide nearly as much economic benefit, but their analysis was based on undocumented estimates of ridership and revenue provided by the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. The longest-distance scenic railroad in the U.S. is only 67.5 miles – how valid would that experience be as a basis for estimates for a 140-mile ASR operation from Utica to Lake Placid? Is there a basis in fact to anticipate that the “all rail” option would generate any more economic activity than the disappointing-to-all current ASR operation?

David Banks

Board member

Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates

Lake Clear

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