Adirondack train group moves to answer growing questions

The last few months have been complicated for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad.  Bill Branson, head of the Adirondack Railroad Preservation Society, says his group has tried to remain above the fray as debate swirls about the tourist train project.

“We chose a while ago to take the high road and be above the name calling and the misinformation,” he says.

But this week, Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates announced that it had gathered more than 10,000 signatures on a petition calling for the railroad tracks from Old Forge to Lake Placid to be torn up and replaced with a multi-use trail.

Perhaps more importantly, seven local governments along the rail corridor have now passed resolutions questioning Branson’s vision of an excursion train — with some town, village and county leaders calling point-blank for the tracks to be torn up immediately.

Train advocates still have a lot of supporters, including powerful groups like the region’s Chamber of Commerce and the Adirondack North Country Association.

But in an interview this week, Branson acknowledged that his group hasn’t been visible enough in the debate.  “We don’t have an attack organization or a defense organization,” he said.

“We don’t have volunteers who really want to mix it up with their neighbors in the community.  It’s hard for us to respond.”

It appears that Branson understands that this approach hasn’t worked.  He said his group recognizes that many locals are skeptical about the tourism railroad’s future, after decades of delay and slow progress.

The current plan for reviving the railroad was approved nearly a quarter century ago, and much of the track remains in disrepair.

“They’re not wrong in what they’re saying,” Branson said.  “Whatever is happening is happening in small bites.”

Part of the problem is that train advocates, including those within the state Department of Transportation, think removing the tracks seems inconceivable — or “crazy,” as Branson describes it.

They see slow, steady progress toward a vision of revived rail transport that could one day include cargo trains and regular passenger service into the heart of the Adirondacks.

But that’s clearly not the way it looks to a wide swath of the general public, or to local government leaders.

I suspect that train boosters will have to make a more convincing argument or run the risk of watching their support erode even further.

(A lot of smart people disagree with me.  Kate Fish, head of the Adirondack North Country Association, and a passionate supporter of the train, calls the whole debate about the rail corridor’s future “a bit of a distraction.”)

Fortunately, the railroad is currently developing a public business plan, which Branson says will be available soon.

The document will include information about how much state of New York funding would be needed to move the project forward, along with specific claims and information about what an expanded tourism railroad might do for the Park’s economy.

Providing those numbers and a detailed vision for where the tourism train project goes next, will be a hugely helpful addition to the conversation.

One big question is the future of a proposed Pullman car overnight excursion that would take passengers from New York City to Lake Placid, which was announced this fall to great fanfare.

But there have been few details offered for how long that project would take to launch — speculation has ranged from two to ten years — how much it would cost taxpayers, and what the benefits would be for communities along the rail corridor.

I have no idea who will, or should, win the Great Adirondack Train Debate.  But I think it’s undeniable that, welcome or not by train boosters, that debate is well underway, it’s serious, and not going away any time soon.

Next month, I have a full article about the debate in the Adirondack Explorer magazine.  And in the coming days, NCPR will also air an interview with one of ARTA’s founders about their vision for a recreational trail.

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233 Responses to “Adirondack train group moves to answer growing questions”

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  1. Pete Klein says:

    Just one point of realism when it comes to views.
    For the most part there aren’t any views along any of the trails in the Adirondacks. The trees look like trees all along the way. It’s only when you reach the top of a mountain or a hiking trail ends at a pond that you get anything that can be called a view.
    When you are riding a bike or snowmobile, or driving a car, you had best keep your eyes on the road or trail – or the only view you will be getting is a view of the inside top of an ambulance.

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  2. Walker says:

    So… no answer on the problem of disposing of the railroad ties, and no answer on how much money ARTA has raised, or what they’ll do if the state proves unwilling to hand them the $6 million salvage value of the rails. No answer on why, if Old Forge could generate millions turning their vast network of snowmobile trails into biking trails, they haven’t seen fit to do so.

    And yes, I’ve heard over and over that Placid to Old Forge is the end all and be all of rail/trails. But since there’s zero sign that DOT is going to hand over the goodies any time soon, why not work on some other bike trails in the mean time, to prove that the rosy claims are real? Carlie points to how slow the rail-with-trail has been– isn’t that largely because ARTA was fighting tooth and nail to keep it from happening?

    And ARTA is fond of saying ASR is losing money; ASR says they’re not. Why not sit down together and look at the facts?

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  3. Paul says:

    Hope, have you ever seen some of the comments and letters that are floating around when the Ironman athletes are on the roads in the summer? If there is going to be thousands of more bikers on the trails and in and around town (and I hope there are) I hope people can learn to share the roads better.

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  4. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    What I hear in all this is talk of people being able to use State lands. It occurs to me that a bike/snowmobile path could be built next to the rail line. That way poor Hope can have her way and Gramp and Gramps can still ride the train. Build more trails, cut the trees back away so some good views can be seen, establish picnic areas and camp grounds, make the Park start working for the people if you’re intent on spending tax dollars in any case.

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  5. Wow, civil give and take! Who knew?
    Out here in the boonies ( hehemm, God’s Country) I am primarily interested in economic benefits in a manageable way and activities for myself, family and customers. Not much for politics, but I would run against the ” Spend it or loose it” grant mentality. Maybe points for the most efficient use of grant monies?
    Any way, the State already “stated” in the UMP if the railroad was scrapped it(the value) would be re invested in the corridor to maintain it for its alternate use. ( I went to two of the public hearings back when) but, even if not, the improvement for snowmobiling would be instant! And, since we did have a few,very few, bikers who biked the edge of the track to get here, I’m sure just a rake and pack would be a great improvement. We have the equipment and I would sign papers to say we would do our ~48 mile snowmobile club section at no public cost.
    I would love to see the results if X # of people were asked what time they want to travel on the corridor?? Do you want to be told when you can go?
    Yes , there are some remote sections, but I have not found more than 10 miles where the cell does not work ( 911 works on anyone’s tower) and ask Inlet how many people show up each year for the “black Fly challenge” ride. 5-700 a year 40+ miles on dirt to Indian Lake.
    Mr. Branson is right, you don’t know until, but all the information from other trails, rails and economic studies point to the recreational trail as the best and most practical bet!

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  6. Paul says:

    “As for the notion that there would be great demand for a service to transport boaters, bikers, and hikers to remote locations, I have yet to see a list of such places or a timetable by which the service would be provided.”

    Tony, this is just my crazy idea. The kind you float on blogs and in op-eds. I can’t fill in the details that would be a second job that I don’t have time for. I have spent some time looking at Google maps. And the corridor does seem to go through some pretty remote areas, near some pretty good hiking, and close to lots of water for paddling. So I don’t think the idea is entirely half baked, but maybe. Like I said if they are going to put Pullman cars on the line these two ideas are also totally compatible.

    But I think that if you folks that are heavily involved are going to tear up the rails you want to be sure that you have considered all the possibilities including ones that may be better than the one you think is the best way to go. Tearing up what is already underway is probably a one-way proposition.

    The main thing is that all the estimates seem to pit a rail-to-trail up against the current operation, that doesn’t seem like a very open minded comparison.

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  7. Paul says:

    “When you are riding a bike or snowmobile, or driving a car, you had best keep your eyes on the road or trail – or the only view you will be getting is a view of the inside top of an ambulance.”

    Pete, I was waiting to hear a great comment like this from you! Thanks.

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  8. Walker says:

    Tony, you’re right that the Unit Management Plan mentions that the scrap value of the rails could be used for the trail conversion. But when the 17 year old UMP is reopened, I would guess that decision would be up for grabs along with everything else– the state was in better shape financially back then. I’ve heard that disposing of the ties could be a problem, as they’re soaked in creosote, making them an environmental problem to dispose of.

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  9. Paul says:

    Tony, do you really think that these estimates for numbers of bikers even at the low end are accurate? If you do I would probably defer to your judgment there you know a lot about this issue. They just seem wildly optimistic to me. I would love to cross country ski on this trail but bike it, I just don’t get it? If you want to ski on it it sounds like you will get mowed down by snow machines. If there are not many around it will be good skiing. But even when you ski that little patch of rail trail out near the bloomingdale bog sometimes you can get pretty mowed down! So if this thing is as popular as expected for snow machines I think skiing would be pretty limited.

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  10. Paul says:

    You can be in the soup for a pretty small clean up project these days. Walker makes a pretty good point that should be revisited.

    One other question (sorry I am so clueless). What about the trestles and stuff can they be used as is for a rail trail. That has to be the most expensive part of any restoration? You take the rails off those things and they will probably collapse into the water below, then you have a wetlands cleanup issue, get a few more bags of money for that. Sorry to sound like the Grinch.

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  11. BRFVolpe says:

    Can anyone (maybe an investigative journalist?), run us through the unfortunate saga of the Adirondack Railroad from about 1978-83? As I recall, the railroad’s freight runs had stopped by the mid-1960s. As the 1980 Winter Olympics approached, passenger rail from Utica to Lake Placid was to resume, thanks to public funding. The tracks were upgraded, and the rails were singing by the time the world descended on Lake Placid. The economic blaze apparently couldn’t catch fire after the first year. It went belly-up after a short time I recall.

    Was it mismanagement? Did their business plan ignore the reality of monstrous maintenance costs compared to railroads in civilization? Did railroad unions bleed them dry? Was it targeted by the NYSDOT for safety violations just because washouts undercut the rails and trains jumped the tracks?

    Are the problems that plagued the RR in the 1980s to be addressed in the ARPS business plan?

    Those who ignore history…..

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  12. Jim McCulley says:

    Peter, snowmobiles can stop at any time and that is the point.

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  13. Tony Goodwin says:

    Based on the experience with other rail trails – both as cited in the RTC study and in some of the other comments here – I certainly think the 70,000 figure is entirely reasonable. The Corridor would not be that attractive to ski as it is straight and flat. Those who want that sort of terrain aren’t likely to want to go very far, and there are many places such as the Old Wawbeek Road and Camp Santanoni that are nearly as flat. If you do want to ski it, try a week day – and given your posting history I suspect you are free on week days. As for removing the rails from bridges, all that is needed are some railings and decking, but in many cases those are already in place to make snowmobile use possible. The rails don’t hold up the bridge, it’s the other way around.

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  14. Paul makes a good point, but I would argue that there are a few things that strongly reduce the viability of any rail operation.
    Physics- while rail can be very efficient, if you add hills and curves the train’s own weight dictates it must carry many people or tons of freight and operate when the schedule calls for.
    Demographics- Since the construction and subsequent demise of rail service on this line, things have changed. Rail fed warehousing in Utica is non existent, distribution in the Adirondacks is better served by highway, population centers and tourist destinations have dispersed. ( Old Forge, for example, has had the Utica connection for over 10 years and NO ONE has established a taxi or shuttle service. Only the railroad operating the taxpayers school buses is utilized).
    Economics- all readings say the Adirondack division was doomed when the Gov. took away the mail contract, and that was then! People tend to have less time to spend which may be why the daily air traffic nearly matches the annual Amtrak ( non-commuter) traffic. Car travel is still less expensive than train even with one person in a car and gas at nearly $20 per gallon.
    Popularity- Biking is hugely popular and the Adirondacks is all about being outdoors and if the snow season gets shorter, the bike season gets longer. Have you noticed? A lot of adds use bicycling as a back drop. It is because the spending public relates.

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  15. MikeM says:

    I don’t have a dog in this fight either, but I think it’s time to think of how to improve our local economy NOW.

    If you take a look at this report, http://www.outdoorindustry.org/pdf/OIA_OutdoorRecEconomyReport2012.pdf
    you see that the outdoor industry is one of the few growing sectors in our economy right now. It’s a perfect time to transition from rail to trail, as the market is growing!

    One thing that concerns me about the rail is the cost / benefit analysis. Seems we can get a much bigger bang for our buck with the trails.

    I think that the ASR and NextStop have done a great job. There are nice train stations now in the Tri Lakes that can become museums and bike shops / cafes.

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  16. david link says:

    Hope Frenette is a dedicated follower of Lee keet who founded a “steering committee” which held a “community meeting” in Tupper Lake late winter. One of the things he told us was he didn’t like the sight of tracks by his home and wanted to make the railroad into a bike trail. Unfortunately for Keet, the community that attendened largely rejected the findings of the committee in favor or rail and efficient transportation. Mr. Keet, While I was present gathered his study under his arm and announced to a group of us that ” you are making me very angry” and stormed away with his “study” under his arm. Now, in less than 10 months ARTA has morphed into an organization that has ” over 10,000 members ” and now over 50,0000 snowmobilers who just have to rip out the tracks. In spite of the fact that the two cycle community has never been challenged and has use of the corridor from December thru March ???? How much does the Keet foundation donate to NCPR, Brian? I’m grossly dissapointed in your reportage and lack or fact checking and/or contact with the people who have keep a potential economic asset open and growing it successfully. Maybe our family foundation should reconsider how we allocate our assets going forward.

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  17. Walker says:

    Jim, snowmobiles don’t always stop when they should and that is the point. The number of serious accidents each year attest to excessive speed and inadequate stopping ability.

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  18. Jim McCulley says:

    Walker, the railroad ties that can be used are salvaged for landscaping etc. The ones that are in such bad shape (most) are shred and burned to make electricity. The whole point of a rail trail is a long FLAT ride. Imagine being able to advertise you can bike and hike through the heart of the Adirondacks with nothing more than a 2% grade. People would come from around the world to use such a trail. DOT’s letter to ANCA from August says that currently they have no plans to remove the tracks. Currently is not a commitment to keep them. In fact the letter continues and says they will maintain the corridor for any future use that is decided.

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  19. Jim McCulley says:

    Neither do cars or trains.

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  20. Walker says:

    Boy am I slow on the uptake! Here I’ve been thinking that ARTA was planning on getting their hands on the salvage value of the rails so that they could actually build the rail/trail. That’s why I was asking how much money they’d raised. Looking at the UMP, though, made me realize that they’re expecting the state to do the actual work of building the trail. And I’m guessing the state would be on the hook for annual upkeep, too. Granted, it might be less than the state currently puts into rail maintenance, but they’d also need rangers patrolling a well used bike/snowmobile corridor.

    So now I imagine that ARTA is really nothing more than a PR/lobbying organization. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

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  21. Walker says:

    “…the railroad ties that can be used are salvaged for landscaping etc.”

    Wrong:

    5. Will it be permissible to reuse the railroad ties, utility poles or other creosote-containing products for other purposes such as landscaping, retaining walls, etc., on or after January 1, 2008?

    No. After January 1, 2008 the law explicitly prohibits creosote or products containing creosote from being used or sold. Railroad ties, utility poles, or materials that are treated with or otherwise contain creosote cannot be reused for other purposes such as landscaping or retaining walls, except as specifically provided for in the Title. NYSDEC: Creosote Article 27, Title 25

    There are limits on burning them, too. Are there electric plants that have permits for burning such material that are near enough to make it economical to cover the trucking costs?

    “Imagine being able to advertise you can bike and hike through the heart of the Adirondacks with nothing more than a 2% grade.”

    That same grade exists between Lake Clear and Malone, and in Malone you’ve got a draw for all those Canadian tourists.

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  22. Hummmm, well National Salvage and Service Corp. said that’s what they do with them and that was last February. Also, recently, the ASR administered $1.4 million (if published figures were correct) replacing several thousand ties Carter to down town Big Moose and trucks hauled off the old ones to somewhere??
    I’ll try to find out where.
    Lake Clear to Malone is a power line, sand surface and the bridges have all been removed. Not that it can’t or won’t be developed,it is a well used snowmobile trail, but the destinations are hardly comparable.
    Interesting side: the Adirondack is 3000 ties per mile, that’s a lot of 6×8′s

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  23. BRFVolpe says:

    What happened to the Adk RR that opened to passengers for the 1980 Winter Olympics? How come it only operated a few years? Nothing has been written about the short-time it was in operation, that I’ve seen. Did they go bankrupt? Get shut down by the DOT for safety violations? Will the ARPS business plan deal with the problems that venture didn’t/couldn’t solve?

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  24. BRFVolpe says:

    What happened to the Adk RR that opened to passengers for the 1980 Winter Olympics? I haven’t read anything about that debacle in the recent ARTA vs ARPS conflict.

    Did they go bankrupt after their public funds startup? Did DOT shut them down for safety violations?

    Will the ARPS business plan deal with the problems that weren’t solved in the early ’80s?

    History ignored only leads…..

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  25. Paul says:

    So Tony, even at 70000 (or let’s shoot for the middle and say 120000) what does that look like for bikers per day per season? These numbers seem astronomical. How many hikers per day in the high peaks?

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  26. Paul says:

    And Tony here they are all on the same trail.

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  27. Arlan says:

    Brian Mann- this is not the first time that you wrote about DOT officials and their position
    on a rail trail conversion. I think I also read it on the Daily Enterprise. But nobody ever tells us who is speaking for the DOT.

    Please tell us who it is from the DOT that is making the statements and whether their statements are official.

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  28. Jim McCulley says:

    BRF according to a study using infrared counters from NYS Parks and recreation and NYSSA they counted 223,000 snowmobiles over a 4 month period of time. The High Peaks has around 90,000 users per year with the all time high I believe around 250,000. The three camp sites at Meadow Brook, Rollins Pond and Fish Creek with direct access to the trail average 200,000 camper per year. When you insert a trail that will go through the center of every major village in the park the numbers will be very large.

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  29. Walker says:

    “…they counted 223,000 snowmobiles over a 4 month period of time.”

    Where?

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  30. Arlan says:

    I was amazed at the number of campers at Fish Creek and Rollins pond who bring bicycles. It seemed like 75% of the sites had bikes and all day long you see groups of bikers going round and round the loop. It’s only 7 flat miles on the trail to Tupper village. It could easily bring thousands of people to TL every summer.

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  31. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Ya know, if they did get their bike path, one way to help pay for it and it’s maintenance would be to charge the bikers/hikers/canoers/kayakers a $29.00 per head land use fee. Fishermen, hunters, motor boaters, ATVers, snowmobilers all have to pay, why not the bikers/hikers? I use the $29.00 figure because that’s the least expensive license fee int he NYSDEC hunting/fishing syllabus. If it’s that important to you, pay for it!

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  32. Brian Mann says:

    Someone here asked about the DOT’s position on this. Jennifer Post, at the Transportation department, sent me an email statement last week as follows:

    FROM JENNIFER POST:

    You said a growing number of Adirondack communities are passing resolutions asking NYSDOT to reopen the Adirondack RR Unit Management Plan and go through a public process to determine the best use for the corridor.

    Q: Are we aware of these resolutions?
    A: Yes.

    Q: Have they caused the department to do what they are asking?
    A: We encourage these communities to work together to form a consensus about the future of the corridor and to partner with the North Country Economic Development Council to put together a plan.

    –Brian, NCPR

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  33. Arlan says:

    Brian, in this Inbox post you say people at DOT see rail removal is inconceivable. In a post on Oct 12, “Adirondack Train Boosters Face Growing Questions”, you wrote that State Officials response was blunt: the railroad line will always be a railroad line. “end of conversation”.

    The recent email response from DOT is dramatically different from the positions if state officials you have written about. Can you please tell us who those officials ate and what authority they have in a decision.

    Again, please, PLEASE tell which State official you are referring to. I ask because the only place I hear this is from you and ASR proponents. It’s never attributed to an actual person. When the Daily Enterprise write about this, the DOT reference is usually a second hand quote from a train advocate.

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  34. Jim McCulley says:

    Walker, the entire study is available at thearta.org.

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  35. Arlan says:

    Hasn’t the local governments already come to consensus? Every local gov who had voted on this seem to have a consensus. Colton, LongLake, Tupper Village, Webb and Forestport hasnt made any decision yet, but it’s clear that the major communities on the north end have come to a consensus. If it has to go through the Econ. DEC. council, it’s a lost cause As long as Gary Douglas is chair. He is the gatekeeper and a staunch railroad fan.

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  36. Jim McCulley says:

    David Link, I was at the Camoin meetings and I had a very different take on those meetings, a good share of the crowd I thought were pro trail. And that study agreed that trail conversion was better economically for the region. As far as fact checking these were Mr. Branson’s own words he said they “don’t make much money.” If you know of some business waiting to make millions off rail restoration (besides rail contractors paid by the taxpayer) then you should bring them forward here. I have never met a business owner in the region that can’t wait for rail restoration.

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  37. Walker says:

    Jim, would you give me a hint as to where that study is on the site? I just spent ten minutes looking without finding it.

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  38. Marlo Stanfield says:

    Disagree entirely on the idea of charging canoers and hikers. So what’s the idea, you’d have to have some kind of pass or stamp to be on public land, and if you don’t, you’d get a ticket? You could just be walking around in the woods, and a DEC cop could stop you and ask for papers? That would be horrible. What country is this? We’re talking about six million acres of public land that we already paid tax money to buy and pay to maintain. And we should have to pay to go in it, too?

    ATVs, snowmobiles, and motorboats are all gas-powered vehicles. They have a lot more destructive power than a person on their feet or in a small paddle-powered boat. The state has a strong interest in regulating those. I can kind of see the fairness point with hunters and fishermen, especially given how they’ve been jacking up the license fees, but still, I don’t think the solution to one possibly unfair tax is another unfair tax.

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  39. Paul says:

    “So what’s the idea, you’d have to have some kind of pass or stamp to be on public land, and if you don’t, you’d get a ticket? You could just be walking around in the woods, and a DEC cop could stop you and ask for papers? That would be horrible. What country is this?”

    This is how it woks now for everyone who wants to hunt and fish pretty much everywhere in the US. The point is that stuff costs money. Why should some poor person down in the Bronx (who never plans to venture north of NYC) have to pay for some wealthy guys bike ride in the Adirondacks.

    I happen to disagree with the idea of charging for this but I see where some people are coming from.

    Curious has any of these other rail to trail projects happened on a line where there currently are operating trains?

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  40. Paul says:

    Marlo, also there is not 6 million acres of public land in the Adirondack park (much of it is private), although many people make that mistake and some seem to think they are entitled to use all of it.

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  41. Jim McCulley says:

    Walker, I can’t find it either email me jim@thearta.org and I will send it this afternoon.

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  42. Arlan says:

    Paul- I never heard of a situation where someone thought they were entitled to use private land here. Please fill us in.

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  43. Marlo Stanfield says:

    Hunting and fishing kills animals. You kill too many of them, you mess up the environment and don’t leave enough for everybody else. And a misplaced shot can kill someone. It happens every year. I’m not saying I like the fees, at least at the level they are now, but there are better reasons to regulate those activities than there are to regulate someone taking a walk in the woods.

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  44. Paul says:

    Even if the land is only used for walking (hiking is the main use of places like the High Peaks Wilderness) there still are plenty of costs related to the management of those areas. Someone has to pay. The idea of user fees just focuses it on the folks most closely associated with the activity. But again like I said I would not do it in this case.

    Arlan, there wasn’t anything here.

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  45. Arlan says:

    Paul,
    Somewhere else in ADKs?

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  46. Paul says:

    Arlan, I don’t think we want to get into it here but for example Phil Brown and others feel that they are entitled to use private property for recreational paddling under common law. The NYS attorney general agrees with him on this. We will know more on this in a few months when the court rules on a pending civil suit related to one particular incident. They may or may not be entitled to that use. Also trespassing on other private parcels is very common in the Adirondacks as elsewhere, so I don’t think the comment I made is too outrageous. Do you?

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  47. Arlan says:

    Yes. I thought it was pretty outrageous for you to claim that some people “think they are entitled to use all of it”. That’s outrageous.

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  48. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Marlo, I have to buy a fishing license to go out and hold a pole in my hands with a line in the water. There is no guarantee I’ll catch a fish. But I can be ticketed for holding a pole and not catching anything. I have to buy a license to hunt on my own land. There is no guarantee I’ll get a deer or fire a shot even, but I have to have the license there on my own land that I pay taxes on. Go to any popular hiking area like Marcy Dam and look around, look at the damage done. Take a rafting trip down the Hudson and on your stop at the Blue Ledges look around a the trampled grounds and litter. Look at the costs of trail maintenance, of the damage they do. Those 100k hikers do far more damage than they are credited with.

    Yes, I propose exactly what you said. If you are going to tramp around on State lands you should be in possession of either my theoretical land use permit or a hunting/fishing/trapping license. If I have to pay to hunt or fish my own lands, then It’s time people started paying for their recreation on State lands too. If it’s that important to you, pony up the bucks to pay for it.

    BTW- I spent $39.00 on a deer tag this year and never even went out once. The state isn’t aobut to give me my money back.

    Arlan, it’s not at all outrageous to say that some people think they are entitled to use all of it. Even here north of the Park I have trespassers on my land. Hunters, pot growers, geology students from a local college that can’t read posted signs and of course snowmobilers who think the fences I put up are meant to be cut every time they drive through. It’s not all people, but it’s enough that it sours you on the idea that people have any respect for private property whatsoever.

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  49. Walker says:

    I can’t say I’d object too much to a hiker’s fee. I can imagine a whole lot of problems implementing it, though. Where would one-time users buy their permits? What does a ranger do who finds a hiker deep in the woods without a permit and without ID? (For that matter, what do they do with a hunter in that scenario?) To make it effective, you’d have to increase the number of rangers, so it might come out revenue-neutral, but it would be good to have more rangers out in the back country.

    The worst thing about it though is that it might decrease the number of people who use and enjoy the Adirondacks, which would reduce political support for park expenditures. I’m already worried that the lol/omg generation is going to find the Adks unappealing.

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  50. The Original Larry says:

    What are we doing here, running a theme park for city people? Everyone pays for the recreation of their choice, including resident/taxpayers. Why should the bike/hike crowd be exempt?

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