Rail-trail plan offers various opportunities

To the editor:

On Tuesday, May 17, 2016, Gov. Cuomo effectively ended the debate on the future use of the Adirondack rail corridor. As a private citizen, I’d like to share my thoughts.

I’ve ridden trains in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Washington, D.C.

I’ve biked on converted rail trails in Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Idaho, Montana and Washington state.

I have many friends on both sides of this issue. I like to think that we can disagree and still converse civilly, conduct business and enjoy each other’s company and friendship.

Throughout my life I’ve always felt that I took every opportunity that presented itself to me. Most of the time, it seemed to me that I had to help make that opportunity happen. That was fine. I’d put in the work, which was sometimes years in the making, and sometimes things paid off. Sometimes they didn’t. I have also realized that on those occasions when I was able to run with an opportunity, I didn’t do it alone. My successes have been due to my working with others and the encouragement, support, input and resources I received while working together toward a common goal.

I’ve rarely had an opportunity dropped in my lap. But that is what I see now. Tupper Lake appears to be the big winner. Tupper Lake gets both the railroad and the rail trail. That is great for them. But I’d like to point out that every community along the corridor wins. Every community along the corridor now has an opportunity to be a part of making something new and of making something exciting happen. I can’t predict how each community along the corridor will use this opportunity. I do know that every community will have its own unique interpretation of the corridor and its use. I’m very curious and excited to see the different results.

The individual communities along the corridor are too spread out and probably shouldn’t attempt to go it alone. What is needed now is for one of the Adirondack or wider regional associations to take a lead role in gathering together all of the different players in the past debate to make this opportunity a success for everyone. Americans are a funny group. We pride ourselves on being individuals, going our own way, but we are also great joiners.

That is what we need to do now. An organization/ agency/ association is needed to bring together all the different players from every side of the debate and from all the communities along the corridor to make the new plan as successful as possible.

I don’t know who that organization might be, but I do know an opportunity when I see one, and I, as a citizen of the Adirondacks, am ready to step up and help make this opportunity a reality.


Pete Benson

Saranac Lake


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