The Adirondack Scenic Railroad: Let’s preserve it!

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad is engaged in a “battle” with “tree huggers” for it’s existence. It is “supposed” to run between Utica, NY and Lake Placid, NY. Pictured below is the Lake Placid train station.

AdirondackRailroadLakePlacidFor a great discussion on this subject, I am going to turn this over to Phyllis Zimmerman, columnist for the Utica Observer-Dispatch.

“I am an Adirondack Railroad preservationist. I am strongly against the state DEC’s and DEP’s recent proposal to tear up a 34-mile section of the track between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.

Reportedly, this newest proposal is a compromise. Officials from these state agencies are offering this as an alternative to ripping up a 90-mile section of unused tract running between Big Moose and Saranac Lake.

This makes me wonder, why rip up the railroad’s northernmost section and leave Tupper Lake as the corridor’s final destination instead of Lake Placid? I happened to visit both of these towns last summer and can relay with some authority that Lake Placid is far more of a tourist destination than Tupper Lake.

Tupper Lake is a nice little Adirondack town offering plenty of water recreation, skiing, and snowmobiling, but sadly, the main part of town appears rundown with little for tourists to do. The Wild Center nature museum appears as its saving grace.

In comparison, Lake Placid appears to be overflowing with tourist activities. I can’t tell you about all of them because my family only skimmed the surface of things when spending an afternoon there last summer. The town’s main drag is dotted with miles of unique shops, restaurants, and hotels, as well the U.S. Olympics Museum. That’s not to mention Whiteface Mountain and the U.S. Olympic Training Center just outside opposite of sides of the town.

But really, I have a bigger question to all this: Why rip up ANY of the railroad corridor? The Adirondack Trail Advocates reportedly believe that the 90-mile track span between Big Moose and Saranac Lake originally slated for demolition would be better served as a recreational trail for hikers, bicyclists and snowmobiles. I have absolutely nothing against these recreational pursuits, but don’t we already have enough Adirondack trails for these?

I have taken the Adirondack a few times between Utica and the Thendara station just outside Old Forge, and let me tell you, the route is breathtakingly beautiful. It is one of a kind. If any portion of the railroad is torn up, it probably never will be replaced.

Once it’s gone, it’s gone!”

4 thoughts on “The Adirondack Scenic Railroad: Let’s preserve it!”

  1. While this is a very complicated and controversial issue, and I would urge people to educate themselves on it, the biggest thing you can do to help preserve the RR is to contact the Governor, the DEC and the DOT, as well as local elected officials, and let them know that you don’t want the rails removed, but rather rehabilitated. A TRAIL WITH RAIL, as envisioned in the APA’s 1996 UMP is the best option for all New Yorkers.


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