December 18, 2012

Petition for Rail Trail signs 10,000th backer

LAKE PLACID — Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates recently signed up its 10,000th supporter for the proposed Great Adirondack Rail Trail linking Lake Placid and Old Forge.

The trail would run 90 miles through the heart of the region on the old rail bed of the Adirondack Division of the New York Central Railroad.

Angela Burleigh of Oriskany Falls became No. 10,000 when she signed the petition at the annual Snodeo in Old Forge.

About 1,800 of the names on the petition are residents of the Tri-Lakes area, according to Trail Advocates: around 650 from Lake Placid, 750 from the Saranac Lake area and 400 from Tupper Lake.

Approximately 7,500 of the petitioners are New York residents, many of them concentrated in the Albany Capital District, Saratoga-Glens Falls region and central New York.

More than 2,500 are residents of other states and Canada, which organizers say indicates an interest in the Great Adirondack Rail Trail “that goes far beyond New York state.”

Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates is a nonprofit citizen organization founded in 2011 to establish a year-round, multi-use recreation trail utilizing the railroad corridor between Lake Placid and Old Forge.

But the idea has been controversial because supporters of the tourist train that uses a section of the line do not want the rails to be torn up. They say the train operation could be expanded and that trail uses can take place alongside the rail lines.

The petition will be presented to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the commissioners of the Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Conservation, with a request that priority be given to updating the state’s Unit Management Plan that governs use of the corridor between Remsen and Lake Placid.

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