State officials announced moments ago that they plan to revisit the management plan guiding use of the controversial corridor between Old Forge Inlet and Remsen and the heart of the Adirondacks — Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake and Lake Placid.
Critics of the tourist railroad have urged a review over the last two years and today’s announcement represents a big step in their efforts to reopen the question of how the line should be used.
Here is the full release from New York State:
DOT & DEC TO REVIEW THE MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR REMSEN-LAKE PLACID TRAVEL CORRIDOR
Public Process Will Determine Future Use of the Rail Corridor
New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Joan McDonald and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today that the State will initiate a public process to review the Unit Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (UMP/EIS) for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor, a 119-mile section of rail line that runs through the Adirondack Park. The UMP/EIS will be reviewed to assess the corridor’s natural and physical resources in an effort to identify the best public and economic use.
“Based on public feedback, DOT will work with the DEC to review the Unit Management Plan for the region in order to engage local communities about the best future use of the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor,” said DOT Commissioner McDonald. “The Department of Transportation is focused on providing a safe transportation system that meets the needs of the communities it serves and helps to support regional economies. Reviewing the UMP will help us do that for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor.”
DEC Commissioner Martens said, “Members of the public are very interested in the future use of the rail line and reviewing the UMP/EIS process will provide the public with the opportunity to weigh in on the use of the corridor. This public process will enable DOT and DEC to hear from residents, local officials, visitors and other stakeholders on their views of the current and future use of the Travel Corridor.”
The DOT, DEC and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) developed the 1996 UMP/EIS with considerable public input. The current effort to review the UMP will take into account issues that have developed over the past 20 years by providing an opportunity for all interests to be part of the process and comment on future transportation and recreation opportunities along the Travel Corridor.
The DOT and DEC will work with the APA and schedule public scoping meetings on a timely basis to help determine what issues and factors will be considered in the environmental review. Both agencies will subsequently prepare an amended draft UMP/EIS laying out a vision for the future of the Travel Corridor. The draft UMP/EIS will be widely available for public review and comment prior to developing a final UMP/EIS that will be considered by the APA, and ultimately approved by Commissioners McDonald and Martens.
The 119-mile long Remsen Lake Placid Travel Corridor is under the jurisdiction of DOT, and is managed pursuant to a Travel Corridor Unit UMP/EIS. The Travel Corridor runs in a northeasterly direction connecting Utica to Lake Placid. Approximately 100 miles of this Travel Corridor is located within the Adirondack Park. An additional 19 miles is located outside of the Park in the Tug Hill Region.