This just in from New York’s Conservation Department:
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) today announced they will hold four public meetings in September about the management of the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor, a 119-mile rail line in the western Adirondack Mountains.
Sessions will be held in Old Forge, Tupper Lake, Ray Brook and Utica. This is a public debate that critics of the tourism train now operating in the north-central Adirondacks have been demanding.
A growing advocacy group calling itself ARTA wants the track repurposed as a multi-use trail. Train buffs say the tourism railroad offers a unique, historical attraction for visitors.
The issue has divided long-time allies, and meant peculiar partnerships between old foes. But this is the first time that state officials have waded into the fray.
Here’s the balance of the DEC’s press release:
Information and comments gathered from the public and stakeholder groups will help the commissioners of the two state agencies determine whether to amend the Remsen-Lake Placid Corridor Unit Management Plan. The plan, adopted by DEC and NYSDOT in March 1996, assesses the natural and physical resources along the 100-foot-wide corridor and identifies opportunities for public use. It guides how the corridor is used and managed.
The public meetings are scheduled for the following dates and locations.
- Monday, September 9, 6-9 p.m. at the Town of Webb Park Avenue Office Building, 183 Park Avenue in Old Forge
- Tuesday, September 10, 1-4 p.m. at the DEC Region 5 Headquarters, 1115 State Route 86, in Ray Brook
- Monday, September 16, 1-4 p.m. at the State Office Building, 207 Genesee Street, in Utica
- Tuesday, September 17, 6-9 p.m.at the Wild Center, 45 Museum Drive, in Tupper Lake
The sessions will include a presentation by the state agencies and informational stations where the public can give state agency staff their comments and ideas verbally or in writing.
All of the meeting facilities are wheelchair accessible. Requests for directions or specific accommodations for any of the meetings may be directed to 518-897-1200 or 315-793-2327.
Written comments also may be submitted by Sept. 25 to NYSTravelCorridor@dot.ny.gov, faxed to 518-457-3183, or mailed to Raymond F. Hessinger, Director, Freight & Passenger Rail Bureau, NYS Department of Transportation, 50 Wolf Road, POD 54, Albany, NY 12232.
The state acquired the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor in 1975 from the bankrupt Penn Central Railroad. The rail line was constructed in 1892 and was operated by New York Central Railroad and, later, Penn Central Railroad until freight service ended in 1972.
NYSDOT manages the line in keeping with a Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan developed in conjunction with DEC. Approximately 100 miles of the corridor is located within the Adirondack Park. An additional 19 miles is located outside of the Park in the Tug Hill Region.