Let’s Support the Adirondack Scenic Railroad

We have been watching both the successful Adirondack Scenic Railroad and the campaign to do away with it and make a trail out of it instead.

Below is a great editorial on the subject.

Plans to retain the rail line between Remsen and Tupper Lake certainly is good news for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and the state tourism industry. The line has enormous potential and developers can now move ahead with plans to extend train trips with more confidence.

Just as important, this also is good news for people who might otherwise never get a peek at the vast wilderness known as the Adirondack Park.

The announcement to keep the track intact instead of tearing it up for a recreational trail, as has been debated, came last week from the state Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Conservation.

Meanwhile, the state will continue to evaluate and determine the best use of the track from Tupper Lake and Lake Placid. Options include rail only, trail only or both, rail and trail.

Do we really need a bunch of bureaucrats to study this? This is a no-brainer. Ending the rail line at Tupper Lake would be foolish.

All due respect to the good people of that community, but travelers — many will come from the New York City metro area on Amtrak and pick up the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in Utica — want the final destination to be Lake Placid. It would only seem logical to keep that line in place. Certainly business owners in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake would see the sense of that.

It would not be a bad thing to consider a recreational trail, too, on the upper end. In fact, one might envision tourist packages now where outdoor enthusiasts could take the train to Lake Placid, then spend a day or two hiking or biking back to Saranac or Tupper lakes, where they could re-connect with the railroad and head home. And snowmobilers could make use of the same connection in winter in addition to the thousands of miles of back country and groomed trails that already exist in the Adirondacks.

The potential here is enormous, and we’ve already wasted an inordinate amount of time studying it. Keep the rail line open to Lake Placid, create a trackside recreational trail between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, and start promoting what can be one of the finest recreational opportunities in the country.