RAY BROOK — The state will reopen for review its Management Plan for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor — a long-awaited decision in a controversy that has brewed for years.
The debate has pitted people who want the 119-mile corridor maintained as a railway only — now used by the Adirondack Scenic Railroad tourist train — against those who want the rails taken up and multiple uses allowed, such as hiking and cross-country skiing.
Both rail and recreation uses will be explored in the new review.
The departments of Environmental Conservation and Transportation announced on Wednesday the decision to reopen the 1996 Unit Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement.
The review will evaluate use of the Tupper Lake-to-Lake Placid segment for a recreational trail and will also "examine opportunities to maintain and realize the full economic potential of rail service on the remainder of the corridor," according to a news release.
The state will also "review options to create and expand alternative snowmobile corridors to connect communities from Old Forge to Tupper Lake on existing state lands and conservation easements."
The decision to revisit the plan was made "following a thorough assessment of options and a review of the extensive public comments made during four public meetings held by DEC and DOT last year."
Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates, which advocated for reopening of the plan in hopes of seeing the train tracks replaced by a recreational trail, had gathered support from 12 municipalities and 12,000 citizens who signed petitions, including 130-plus business owners from the Lake Placid area.
The state had held hearings around the region to gather input on whether to reopen the Management Plan.
DEC and DOT will prepare the plan and draft impact statement.
'SETS THE STAGE'
Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates was pleased, for the most part, with the decision.