To the editor:
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Adirondack railroad corridor.
In opening, I'd like to tell you I'm one of the relatively few people who have ridden the railroad from Tupper Lake to Thendara in recent times - back in 1980, just before the Olympics. My wife, newborn son and I enjoyed the trip a great deal, even with the unheated cars and occasionally heavy snow. Also, I have been familiar with many miles and spots along the corridor near Tupper Lake, having been a forester for a large landowner through which much of it passed.
I am thoroughly against removing the tracks on any portion of the corridor. I am thoroughly for renovating the rail line to support regular tourist train traffic at least between Thendara and Tupper Lake, hopefully through to Lake Placid. I am thoroughly in support of developing a trail system in the corridor right of way to support bicycles and other wheeled recreation, including wheelchairs in summer, and perhaps a double winter trail for both snowmobiles and cross-country skiing, which I don't believe are compatible on the same trail.
There are adequate and feasible engineering solutions to developing trails through sensitive areas like wetlands and open water. Those scoffing at the possibility have blinders on in selfish support of their own objectives.
Having the rail line functioning would facilitate development and maintenance of a trail system, making material, equipment and labor delivery much easier for the mostly remote, nearly inaccessible corridor.
I recognize the expense of both rehabilitating the rail and developing a trail system is BIG. This should not be an adequate rationale for permanently removing the possibility of rail rehabilitation by taking up the rails.
I have seen miles of 10-mile-an-hour vehicular traffic moving north on New York State Route 28 toward Thendara/Old Forge, burning lots of petroleum fuel while almost not moving. Eventually only the most wealthy of us will be able to afford that fuel on a regular basis. Rail traffic - assuming a healthy ridership level, which is another question entirely - is incredibly more fuel efficient. Don't preclude this possibility by opening up the unit management plan and changing the use of the corridor. Help the interior Adirondack population find ways to optimize the use of the rail corridor for ALL user populations.
Thank you for your consideration.