Adirondack train boosters face growing questions

A couple of years ago, it seemed like the Adirondack Scenic Railroad would chug along forever, with hobbyists and boosters working slowly and steadily to expand the line that now operates between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.

But then a group called ARTA – the Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates — jumped in and changed the narrative.  In short order, they signed up thousands of people who say the corridor from Remsen to Lake Placid should be remade as a multi-use trail.

They cobbled together a unique coalition of greenies, snowmobilers, bicycle enthusiasts and anti-pork advocates (who think government subsidies for the train are a waste) and started making noise.

The response from train advocates and some state officials was blunt:  This has already been decided.  It’s a railroad line and will always be a railroad line.  End of conversation.

That view was echoed recently by the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, which concluded in its latest report that funding for rail infrastructure — including the Adirondack tourist train — is a priority.

But it’s clear that ARTA struck a nerve.  In recent months, town governments along the corridor — most recently Tupper Lake last night — have passed resolutions urging New York  to reopen the unit management plan that governs use of the track.

Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Tupper Lake and North Elba have all endorsed a fresh look at the future of the corridor.  Some local officials have gone further, deriding the track as a boondoggle and calling for it to be torn up.

Tupper Lake has been the focal point of resistance to that notion, with the “Next Stop Tupper Lake” group — including some town board members — fighting passionately to keep the train, well, on track.

So last night’s 3-to-2 vote was a stunner.  Town supervisor Roger Amell, in an interview with NCPR, said that he personally prefers that the track be removed in the Tri-Lakes region.

“To keep the snowmobilers, that’s a key thing for Tupper Lake,” he said.  “Unless you have plenty of snow, you can’t use the tracks.  You have to have at least 18 inches of snow for the tracks [to be covered].”

Train boosters are working to recapture momentum.  They plan to hold a trip for local media and officials later this month to highlight the corridor’s value as a tourist line, calling it “a celebration of the rails.”

That’s good outreach, but my sense is that the time has come when railroad boosters will have to engage the debate more broadly, making a better argument for how the train can become a real and sustainable tourism asset.

Big enough, that is, to offset the downsides of a corridor that goes unused most of the year over most of its length.

When it was just ARTA calling for a new direction for the line, train buffs and members of the Regional Economic Development Council could make a reasonable claim that a fresh conversation wasn’t warranted.

But now that local government leaders have embraced the debate, it’s probably time for everyone — including New York state — to come to the table.

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104 Comments on “Adirondack train boosters face growing questions”

  1. Matthew Rogers says:

    Those interested in how a rail line in the Adirondacks could be revitalized into a successful tourism line should refer to the First Wilderness Heritage Corridor http://www.firstwilderness.com/.

    While it took many years to get to where it is today, many of the communities along the line have seen significant benefits of the line. The Saratoga and North Creek Railroad https://www.sncrr.com/ has been integral to the line’s success and it is likely that a similar company would be needed for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad to have a positive impact.

    The full support of most if not all the communities along the line will also be necessary for a successful outcome.

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  2. Peter Hahn says:

    This is hopeless. What we are going to end up with is neither a train or a rec trail.

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  3. dbw says:

    This is so short-sighted. NNY needs every single rail line we have plus some new ones. Within a few short years rail may be the most cost effective way to get food and needed goods into the region.

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  4. Brian Mann says:

    DBW –

    I think there’s a fair argument to be made that a tourist train is an asset for the Adirondacks.

    But the idea that there will ever be a commercially viable year-round train operating from Old Forge to Lake Placid is hard to square with the facts.

    As I’ve written here before, the most logical way that the Tri-Lakes region might be served by trains is that people and goods would journey to Westport or Malone by rail and then make the final 60 mile leg of the journey by bus or truck.

    That would be far more fuel efficient, economically sensible, convenient, safe — not to mention substantially less hazardous to the environment.

    This is the system that is used all over the world in countries that rely heavily on trains — a trunk line using rail, with spurs using road transport.

    The alternative, which you’re suggesting, would mean trains pulling industrial cargoes of chemicals, fuel oil, or propane, trying to plow through ten foot high snow drifts in the middle of the Five Ponds Wilderness.

    And that on a track that extends for long stretches over narrow causeways with wetlands and water on both sides.

    So…the route might be a really cool seasonal excursion. But a viable way for people and goods to get where they need to go? I’m really skeptical.

    –Brian, NCPR

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  5. Walker says:

    Three things bother me about ARTA’s proposals:

    1. If the tracks are taken up, they’re gone forever: their value as scrap is in the millions. The idea that the money would ever be there to put down new tracks is pure fantasy. Nevertheless, I have heard an ARTA spokesman say that if we ever decide that we want railroads in the Adirondacks again, we can always put the rails back. Yeah, right. That is simply dishonest.

    2. Adirondack Scenic Railroad has been working on their project for twenty years. Stations have been restored or rebuilt in Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Tupper Lake; a railroad station without tracks is pretty pathetic. Plans and funding are in place for a parallel foot and bike trail between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. But so what? Let’s just chuck all that.

    3. There are abandoned rail lines in the Adirondacks where the rails were taken up years ago. Why not start with one of those, to prove that the extravagant claims about the draw of a rail-trail conversion in Adirondacks are true without destroying an existing resource? Sure, going that route may be more difficult, mostly because the scenic railroad has been maintaining the right of way on the line that ARTA wants to grab. But if the rail/trail is the huge draw ARTA says is will be, it should be worth the effort, right?

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  6. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Ahhhh! Ten foot high snow drifts! You sweet -talker, you!

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  7. Newt says:

    Brian-
    How can you possibly suspect that passengers and shippers would not jump at the opportunities in a rail line connecting the mighty population centers and commercial hubs of Utica and Lake Placid?

    I don’t recall reading before your mention of an alternative of using Westport, and then shifting to wheeled transportation (not to mention that it already exists (less sure about Malone, but, whatever).

    I’m surprised that ARTA never , to my knowledge, has used this argument, since it makes such perfect sense.

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  8. Peter Hahn says:

    There is a big problem with the Westport plan. The tracks between Albany and Montreal are slow and the (one) train is frequently behind schedule. It is much safer today to drive to Albany and take the train to NYC.

    If “they” fixed the NYC Albany Montreal line to make if faster, more reliable, and more frequent, Brian’s plan would make a lot of sense. Many New York City residents without cars who want to visit the Adirondacks (e.g. my son and daughter-in-law) would happily take the train and bus. Renting a car costs $500 and you have to drive.

    Tourist trains and rec trails are both economic drivers. We need everything we can get, not neither. ARTA should come up with a better plan.

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  9. Arlan says:

    Brian, this isn’t the first time I read that State Officials reject the idea that the rail could be replaced by a trail. The only official that I have seen quoted is Gov Cuomo who said the decision would be local. Who are the state officials you are referring to and who did they say about this?

    By the way, does the Tupper Lake Town Board have a recusal policy? Having a leader of Next Stop vote on a rail issue is a conflict of interest. This same town board member david tomberlin is, I believe, on the regional economic council. I assume he doesn’t recuse himself there either. I tried to find info on refusals on the regional councils website but found nothing

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  10. Newt says:

    -Walker,
    regarding your point 2 about stations, my experience with rail-to-trails is limited, but I seem to remember seeing, or reading about a number of stations that very successfully converted to trailside restaurants and/or convenience stores and/or museums. I saw this on Cape Cod a few years ago, and Charlie’s Inn, in Lake Clear, very close to the old station, does it right now.

    Peter-I think the chances of serious (Federal) dollars upgrade to the Montreal line are a bit better than much from anyone for Utica-LP.

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  11. Arlan says:

    For anyone who think passenger rail here is feasible, ask yourself why Amtrack and NYC subway cannot operate without a huge financial loss every year, but this rail line could be profitable.

    Some states require a feasibilty study before any grants for rails. NY should take a close look at the feasibly of passenger and freight service; the UMP process is one way to do that.

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  12. Curt Austin says:

    What a turn of events! Railfans are very passionate folks, well-organized and dedicated to their goal of preserving railroads. Cyclists and other users of “bike trails” do not have survival at stake (except perhaps along Rt 86), and have difficulty mustering the political forces required to get tracks ripped out. But ARTA seems to be doing quite well.

    Railfans attempt to pose the issue as a serious transportation system versus the silliness of recreational uses. It’s easy to be misled: we’re comparing thundering locomotives to skinny people riding things that look like toys. But the reality is that the current train will never be more than an amusement ride for people eating nachos while looking out the window at wilderness. The folks on bicycles are actually outdoors! Getting some exercise! Doing no harm. Far less silly than riding a tourist train. And, if it matters, making a much more substantial economic impact.

    I admire the rail fans; they have done something remarkable. But they’ve been too successful: they have commandeered a huge piece of public resource that has a better use.

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  13. Larry says:

    Passenger rail service is a joke and will continue to be a joke as long as a round-trip ticket for travel between NYC and Saratoga (for example) costs $137. Do the math: for two people, renting a car and driving is about the same cost and much more convenient, especially if the final destination is not near the train station. More than two people (i.e., a family) or those who own cars is a no-brainer.

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  14. Peter Hahn says:

    Larry – its not cheaper. I dont know why, but if you rent a car in NYC and you live in the city, they charge $500 – twice what they charge if you are from out of town. Many many people in the city are happy riding trains and would happily take a train to the Adirondacks even if it cost the same or more. But ,,, the train to Westport with bus connection takes way to long and is way too unreliable. I assume an upgrade to the Albany – Montreal section would be incredibly expensive, but would be a potential huge economic driver for the whole state/region. I would bet that lots of Montreal residents would be happy to take the train too. Newt points out that the Feds would have to chip in and they should as part of the “stimulus”.

    This has nothing to do with the Utica/Lake Placid line other than it would be a reasonable way to get rail connections to major population centers.

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  15. Larry says:

    Peter, I don’t mean to challenge your personal experience. I got my math from the Priceline.com web site that quotes $238 for a mid-sized car, Friday to Sunday rental, rented from their Jersey City, NJ location. That must account for the price differential. That said, I would be very interested in the services available along the NY – Montreal corridor if there was more than one train per day at a price that was close to reasonable.

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  16. Dave says:

    “Adirondack Scenic Railroad has been working on their project for twenty years.”

    That makes the argument against rail in this corridor… does it not?

    They had a 20 year go at it, and did not make it work. This, in my opinion, is not a knock on them… they did their absolute best and did a wonderful job, but in the end they were trying to make a pig fly. An Adirondack Scenic Railroad in that corridor is just not a viable idea.

    How many more years do we give this idea time to work? How many more tax dollars do we spend on it?

    At some point reasonable people have to say enough, we gave it a shot, it didn’t work, let’s try something different. Especially when that something different has such broad support, would attract a more diverse user group, and is likely to have more of a benefit to our communities.

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  17. Walker says:

    I think it’s clear that the Adirondack line isn’t going to be used for ordinary passengers any time soon, though the distant future is anybody’s guess. But I think its potential draw as a tourist train is another matter. If the entire line could be brought up to a reasonable speed standard, and if they could get their hands on a steam engine or two, then I think the potential tourist draw could more than justify their continued use of the resource.

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  18. Paul says:

    Walker, I think I agree with you. I also agree with Matthew. I also (gulp) agree with Larry. First on Larry’s point anyone who considers a train here as purely a mode of transportation is ignoring the facts.

    Now to Matthew. I think that a multipurpose tourist train that runs year round is something worth considering. I have described here before the Durango and Silverton narrow gauge RR that runs year round out in southwest Colorado. It takes hikers and mountain bikers (and even snow machine enthusiasts) into remote parts of the mountains in that part of the state.

    http://www.durangotrain.com/packages/adventure-packages/bike-hike-and-train-package

    A similar train running the entire length of this corridor could be a very unique draw for the kinds of tourists the area wants to attract. With canoe cars and new (off the beaten track) put-ins for paddlers it could have something to offer that I am not sure you could find anywhere in the country. A rail-to-trail is a good idea but hardly unique. Like Walker says there are plenty of abandoned tracks that could be a test case. Maybe bikers would flock to the area but I think that maybe here we have snow machine enthusiasts twisting the bikers arms a bit. There is no shortage of snow machine trails in the Saranac Lake area as an example (and getting out onto the lakes is far more fun than sticking to an old train track). I don’t see large numbers of sledders flocking to the area to use the great trails (including many new ones) that we already have. Will this new Tupper to SL to LP trail really draw in the kinds of sledder numbers we see in Old Forge? Maybe, but I am skeptical.

    So before you rip up the tracks I would just suggest that the folks consider some other more unique ideas for the train. This would require a lot of work since we would need to design (and get approved) new canoe launching spots and new rail side trail heads for this to be something that is really interesting and different. Opening the whole line would also compliment all the work and activity that is already part of the RR. This would be a train that could service families, hard core hikers, hard core paddlers, older folks that just want to ride from town to town and spend their money………

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  19. Peter Hahn says:

    Larry – I did that too, for my son. When he went to pick up the car, they looked at his drivers license and residence location and raised the price to $500. Zipcar costs that much too. No idea why – maybe insurance?

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  20. Arlan says:

    ADE is reporting that the Piercefield town board voted in favor of removing the rails.

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  21. Larry says:

    No idea, Peter, but that clearly invalidates my argument for travelers from NYC.

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  22. Lee Keet says:

    Last night Piercefield voted to remove the tracks, making it the fourth community (after North Elba, Lake Placid, and Saranac Lake) to call for either a reopening of the Unit Management Plan (twelve years overdue) or for the full removal of the tracks. And last week the New York Snowmobile Associaiton also passed a resolution calling for track removal. [Note that the primary beneficiary of track removal will be Tupper Lake in the winter, as snowmobiles can easily travel north].

    My point is simple: with all of the evidence mounting that a trail would help our local communities much more than train restoration would, and with it clear that if trains were ever needed again the rail bed would have to be redone (essentially to what the recreation trail would be) before modern rails could be laid (versus our 19th century 36 foot long unwelded antiques), and with all of these communities calling for change, why are we not demanding that the State at least open this up for a full review?

    The status quo is simply unacceptable.

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  23. Hope says:

    Not only are Towns and Villages asking for the State to review the Unit Management Plan for the Rail Corridor (Which was supposed to have been done in 2001 anyway). The New York State Snowmobile Association (NYSSA) has voted on “A Resolution In Support of the Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates to Establish a Multi-Use Trail Along the Adirondack Railroad Transportation Corridor” This was voted on and adopted on October 6, 2012.
    Snowmobiling contributes $868 million dollars to the New York economy and 28% of that currently occurs in the Adirondack Park. Why shouldn’t we go after that market. The Railroad can’t even come close to that kind of economic impact. Add that to the economic impact of bicycle riders there is no question what we need to happen here. The opening up of the UMP gives all stake holders a voice in what the corridor should be used for. The Train boosters should bring their facts to the table and leave their emotions at home.

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  24. Hope says:

    Opening up the UMP for review is just that “a review”. It’s time to move forward. The train boosters will get their opportunity to communicate in a public forum the reasons to keep the rail line intact just like the trail advocates will. It will be a public forum. It will let all stake holders put their cards on the table as well as the state agencies. It is quite obvious that the majority of the people with interest in the corridor would like for it to be opened up for review based on my conversations with community leaders. Let’s get to it! The sooner the better. Delay tactics by train boosters just show their fear that they can’t support their activity. If they have the support they say they have then they shouldn’t be afraid of the review.

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  25. Marcus says:

    If I remember correctly it seems to me that NYS spent quite a bit of money rebuilding/repairing the tracks back in 1979 in anticipation of the 80 Olympics in Placid. Anyone have any info on how much was spent? I did ride the train once from Placid to Tupper, in the fall of 1980. It was very slow and not very scenic. Lots of back yards, flat ground, wetlands. Once was enough, I can’t imagine why anyone else would ride it more than once. And once in Tupper there was no where to go and nothing to do. They do have the Wild Center now but that is several mles away, how would you get there and back? A bike trail seems like an idea who’s time has come. We all know that most people could use a little more exercise these days.

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  26. Paul says:

    I agree that the UMP should be looked at again. In that process you would have the opportunity at a state wide level to suggest something like I did above with a re-designed year round tourists train that could be like nothing else in the US certainly like nothing in the east. It would be a huge project and an expensive one but it could be done. Like someone said above it would need local support so that may make it dead on arrival. It seems to me like the rail-to-trail cookie cutter idea is a good one but maybe shortsighted. Typically with these debates the lines get drawn in the sand and you have a problem. I think even the trail supporters have sufficiently insulted the train people to a point where they are all pretty well entrenched. You see that here, even any suggestion of an alternative is poo pooed without consideration.

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  27. Paul says:

    The UMP and the DEC is one issue. Isn’t the DOT and the Feds a bigger deal when it comes to abandoning the rail line? Is the spur they are going to re-open in Tahaws at all related to this line?

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  28. Dick Beamish says:

    The rail-to-trail conversion of the old Remsen-Lake Placid line between Placid and Old Forge could be one of the major tourist attractions in the Adirondack Park, based on the success of some “rail trails” elsewhere. The Adirondack Park offers some of the best hiking and paddling in the northeastern United States, but we have so far lacked the magnet to draw cyclists here. The Adirondack Rail Trail would be such an attraction and tourist destination. It would also be a popular amenity for Adirondack residents who live anywhere near rail bed that connects Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Lake Clear, Tupper Lake, Piercefield, Beaver River, Big Moose and Old Forge. People might ride the tourist train once, but they would use the recreational trail on the rail bed on a consistent basis.

    The Adirondack Rail Trail would serve as a trunk line for bicyclists, a catalyst that could turn the Adirondacks in short order into one of the nation’s premier areas for bicycling. The Champlain Valley on the Adirondack side already offers superb bicycling, and so do the hundreds of miles of well paved, lightly trafficked roads between Saranac Lake and the Saint Lawrence Valley. These areas have not yet been discovered by most cyclists. The Adirondack Rail Trail would clinch the deal and put the Adirondack Park on the map for bicycling, much as it now attracts paddlers, hikers, climbers, etc.

    We’ve wasted 40 years trying to decide the best use of the old rail bed. It’s time to get with the program.

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  29. Hope says:

    All state agencies including the APA, DEC, DOT will have a say in the UMP review. The Corridor is currently under the jurisdiction of the DOT and DEC. The Corridor is owned in Fee title by the State of NY so the Fed. Transportation is not involved. The Army Corps of Engineers would be involved due to any impact on wetlands and waterways. The Tahawus Line was a private line on private ROW so the Feds are involved. The Tahawus line does not connect in anyway to the Utica- Lake Placid Corridor. Not even close enough to even dream of a connection. It heads into the southern High Peaks Region. The Remsen Corridor travels around the northern side of the High Peaks. In order for one to travel from NYC to Lake Placid you would have to take a train to Albany then transfer to a train going west, to Utica and then transfer to a train going northeast, to Lake Placid. I know a few people who actually did that trip back in the day and they said there is no way that they would ever repeat it.

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  30. Arlan says:

    I wonder how much the APA/DEC/DOT will want to put their own opinions on this since their boss already said it will be a local decision. I can already guess what APA exec Director feels about it since she just came from ANCA who has blindly supported the rail project.

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  31. Walker says:

    “The Champlain Valley on the Adirondack side already offers superb bicycling, and so do the hundreds of miles of well paved, lightly trafficked roads between Saranac Lake and the Saint Lawrence Valley. These areas have not yet been discovered by most cyclists.”

    Well, yeah. So if the “hundreds of miles of well paved, lightly trafficked roads between Saranac Lake and the Saint Lawrence Valley” haven’t been discovered by most cyclists, who’s to say that they’d jump on this particular rail/trail? See, this is exactly what bugs me– inflated claims generally based on rail/trail conversions much closer to population centers. That’s why i say before you take the irreversible step of ripping out the rails on this line, prove your claims first on a rail line where the tracks are already gone.

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  32. Arlan says:

    99% of the US has roads as good as here. People Come to bike in the tri-lakes because of the Adirondack brand

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  33. mervel says:

    There seems to be inflated claims all around.

    If a rail line would be profitable than the rail carriers in the region would be jumping at it, but they are not jumping in as far as I know? I don’t think it is commercially viable. Beyond that most of the commercial rail traffic you would have would be toxic chemicals like we have going daily through SLC. What does AMTRAK say, how much are they willing to pay?

    It is a nice little tourist line, if the taxpayers in Essex, Clinton and Frankly county want to pay for it I think they should do so.

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  34. Paul says:

    “People might ride the tourist train once, but they would use the recreational trail on the rail bed on a consistent basis.”

    Dick did you even read the suggestion I made above, or look at the link? Why not try and do more with the rail line and link it it the popular activities you mention along with having it as a unique draw for mt. bikers?

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  35. Arlan says:

    So who are the “State Officials” who say the rails will never be removed. I have only heard rail advocates claim this, include Kate Fish when she was addressing a question from one of the APA commissioners Who asked about the future of the rail corridor. Nobody ever explains who said it so I assumed it was just an absurd attempt to end the debate. But Now Brian Mann is saying it. I’d love to know who it was, what they said and what authority they have to make the decision.

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  36. Paul says:

    Another idea (again trying to think of something different) would be a groomed cross country ski trail on this corridor (ala Scandinavia). Again, I appreciate that Snowmobiling is a good draw as well, but what you need to do is find something unique. A Saranac Lake to Old Forge loppet could be a cool event. Something like an American Birkenbeiner of the east. It could draw thousands of skiers if promoted properly. I am surprised that some of the folks involved support another, whatever number of miles it is of snowmobile trails. One question. How does this relate to the no “significant” increase rules on snowmobile trails? Could a UMP even authorize this change legally? I prefer my suggestion above but here is another one.

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  37. Snowflake says:

    Paul, I have been there and done that Durango Silverton railroad. Beautiful ride by the way. I know many who actually live nearby and in other areas of CO. The people who ride it for access to the backcountry do so because there is virtually no road service to those areas. That is different here. There is road access to most all the lakes and ponds which can be reached by rail. I would much prefer to load up my canoes and camping equipment in my vehicle and drive it to an access point than haul it all on a train. If the train was the only way to get to the access, like it is in northern Canada, then obviously that is how you have to go. But, that is not the case here. As romantic as it sounds, anyone who has had to haul recreation equipment on a train, bus or plane can tell you what a hassle that is, especially if you have a party of more than one.

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  38. Paul says:

    snowflake, that is a good point for paddlers. The train would need to have canoes available maybe. But grabbing it off your car and sliding it on a rack on a train car and then sliding it into the water when you get to a put in, do you think that is much different than carrying it the 300 or so yards (or more) that represent many adirondack canoe access points? As you probably know these are often specifically designed so you can’t just launch your boat where you park. Like I said here you would have to construct new trail heads and put ins that are only accessible by the rails. Like the trail heads you saw in Colorado. It was a great experience to flag down the train after spending the week in the wilds. Making new places that you can’t drive to but can access without humping your stuff is a thing that is hard to find anywhere.

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  39. Walker says:

    “There is road access to most all the lakes and ponds which can be reached by rail.”

    Not true for Lila for sure. There must be others.

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  40. Tony Goodwin says:

    Those who think that transport to remote trailheads and boat launches have yet to come up with any specific sites that are not just as conveniently accessed by road. In addition to identifying such destinations, I would like to see a proposed timetable for that service that would show just how much time people would have to recreate at these destinations. And if this service were to be part of the regularly scheduled service from Utica to Lake Placid, how many more hours above the five hours required for the “non-stop” trip would be added to an already long ride from New York, Albany or Buffalo? That said, I seriously doubt that anyone will post either a list or a timetable.

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  41. mervel says:

    Wait, so Walker you want to smash a rail line down to Lila? The whole POINT is no road access, rail is even more intrusive.

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  42. Snowflake says:

    Are you kidding me? There is a large parking lot and a short carry to Lake Lila to launch a canoe. Local outfitters will even carry your canoes to the beach if you aren’t willing to carry it yourself.

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  43. I’m a huge supporter of rail as transit and think it should be expanded. But rail as tourism is an expensive luxury, both for the customer and the taxpayers. A lower cost rec trail is better for everyone.

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  44. Snowflake says:

    There is already a rail line to Lake Lila but the station location is much farther away from the Lake than the current parking lot.

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  45. Walker says:

    Snowflake, not far from the dilapidated station at Lila (built by Dr. Webb, who built the entire line) the tracks pass within 100 yards of the lake. The carry from the parking lot is a third of a mile, and the drive to that parking lot can be fairly nasty at times.

    The tracks also cross the Bog River Flow 1.3 miles closer to Lows Lake than the parking lot at the put in at the lower dam.

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  46. Snowflake says:

    Just because the tracks themselves might come closer to the lake doesn’t mean that will be where they stop to pick you up. I’ve been to both lakes many many times since I live close by, so I am very well aware of where the tracks go. The parking lot is away from the lake for a reason. The parking lot could have been built anywhere along the road since it goes all the way to the original house site ( which I actually was in prior to it being torn down). Also, many of us who go there really would not appreciate the interruption and noise that regular train service would bring to the area. It would as much as a similar intrusion that some think that floatplanes bring into a wilderness area. Seriously, they have to sound the horn when they stop. Wouldn’t that be a nice addition to your wilderness experience? The access road to Lake Lila may be a little dusty sometimes but it certainly is not difficult or dangerous drive.

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  47. Leah says:

    I think a fresh look at this might help to get a train line in place that actually better reflects tourism and tourist travel needs to access the region. We do need more train lines in this state, but trains that actually get used.

    People want to explore the Adirondacks and enjoy the beauty of the region year round. I think everyone agrees on that. However, accessing the region at the moment, is still best achieved by car. If you live in Montréal or you live in NYC, tourists think a car is needed, if not a combination of train + car, or bus + private transportation. Look at the Meetups that encourage people to visit, for to people to get outside. I hope elected officials look at the bigger issue of where the tourists are visiting from, how to help them get here and in an effort to preserve the beauty, look at developing alternative transportation plans that succeed in meeting visitor needs.

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  48. Walker says:

    “Also, many of us who go there really would not appreciate the interruption and noise that regular train service would bring to the area.”

    I can’t imagine more than one train a day coming through. And I think trains sound their horns when they cross roads, not when they stop. And if there was no one to drop off or pick up, the train wouldn’t stop.

    As for the road to Lila, after a lot of rain, it can be a problem if you don’t have a high clearance four wheel drive. I have also found it blocked by fallen trees a time or two.

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  49. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Apropos of nothing, but a little treat for the bike proponents, try doing this with a train.

    http://thechive.com/2012/10/11/when-a-trials-rider-takes-a-fancy-road-bike-off-road-amazing-things-can-happen-video/

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  50. Snowflake says:

    And I guess sometimes you might find a tree blocking the tracks occasionally too. But really, do you think the amount of taxpayer funds required to rebuild the tracks, so a few people can get a train ride to a couple of lakes that can be reached by car, the best way to spend our tax dollars? And, let’s not discount the herbicide used along the corridor to keep the vegetation at bay. I bet none of that is ending up in the watershed either. And don’t feed me the line of massive transportation needs for goods and services to our huge population base. They don’t even get 4 passengers a day on the bus from NYC.

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