May 20, 2013

Letters to the Editor: May 20, 2013

Recreational trail

TO THE EDITOR: In regard to the Adirondack North Country Association “In My Opinion: It needn’t be rails vs. trails,” on advocates restoring rail service through the Adirondacks along the Remsen/Old Forge-to-Lake Placid corridor: Train advocates have had many years to develop this corridor, and they have failed to do so.

There will be no investor-driven rail use that provides meaningful economic development for the region. However, every rail use envisioned by the ANCA train boosters would be contingent upon the state spending huge sums of money.

The latest ANCA-advocated use is “for recreational access, moving people and their kayaks, canoes, mountain bikes and other gear to launch points and trail heads along the corridor.”

What can they be thinking? Paddlers can now drive to all these put-in points, at their convenience, hauling their canoes and kayaks on their cars. Why would they want to be tied to the train schedule for going and coming?

Even a small freight train can carry a million pounds of freight. Using a huge diesel locomotive and heavy rail cars to deliver a few 50-pound canoes and a few paddlers to a remote pond makes as much sense as for taxpayers to buy an 18-wheel diesel tractor-trailer rig to deliver marshmallows to campers at state campgrounds.

ANCA seems to think it’s shameful for anybody to challenge the train enthusiasts’ control of this corridor. They have evidently lost sight of the fact that this corridor is a valuable, state-owned asset that should serve the residents of and visitors to the Adirondacks.

Conversion of this corridor into a popular recreational trail offers huge economic and health benefits at negligible expense to taxpayers. It’s high time for the state to step in and adjudicate this matter.

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