The New York State DOT and the DEC say that a public process will be set up to determine the use for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor, a 119-mile section of rail line that runs through the Adirondack Park. This could provide an opportunity to turn the rail corridor into a multiple use trail.
The organization Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates had long been requesting the Unit Management Plan (UMP) for this corridor be reviewed. The UMP was completed in 1996 and is required to be revisited every five years, however it has not been updated in the past 13 years. The plan currently allows for the operation of a tourist train, which is operated between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake by the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. A large portion of the railroad, between Saranac Lake and Old Forge, would need major upgrades to allow regular rail service.
The DOT and DEC will work with the Adirondack Park Agency and schedule public scoping meetings on a timely basis to help determine what issues and factors will be considered in the environmental review. Both agencies will subsequently prepare an amended draft UMP/EIS laying out a vision for the future of the Travel Corridor.
The 119-mile long Remsen Lake Placid Travel Corridor is under the jurisdiction of DOT, and is managed pursuant to a Travel Corridor Unit UMP/EIS. The Travel Corridor runs in a northeasterly direction connecting Utica to Lake Placid. Approximately 100 miles of this Travel Corridor is located within the Adirondack Park. An additional 19 miles is located outside of the Park in the Tug Hill Region.
Several municipalities and one property owners group along the corridor have passed resolutions asking the state to reopen the UMP: the villages of Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake; the towns of Tupper Lake, Webb and Harrietstown; and the Beaver River Property Owners Association. Others have asked for the state to remove the rails, including the village of Lake Placid, the towns of North Elba, Piercefield and Colton, St. Lawrence County and the New York State Snowmobile Association. More than 10,500 supporters have already signed on to a petition of support for a rail trail.