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A history lesson for Protect the Adirondacks!

To the Editor:

Charles C. Morrison, as a board member of Protect the Adirondacks!, has had published a letter to the editor in local newspapers under the headline "Protect the Adirondacks! gives Tahawus rail line history lesson.” As an amateur historian myself I applaud applying the lessons of history to help us make informed decisions for the future. Unfortunately, Mr. Morrison's letter is light on the history and heavy on the rhetoric. Among other items, Mr. Morrison indicates that “In 1941 the federal government wantonly violated Article 14 and private landowners when it took easements for the right-of-way.” Wantonly, according to my dictionary, means “immoral or unchaste, gratuitously cruel, merciless, marked by unprovoked gratuitous maliciousness.” This was clearly not the case. In 1941 the United States was in a fight for its life. The titanium that would be mined and shipped was crucial to our war effort. Mr. Morrison's inflammatory language puts in question his entire "history lesson.” I urge the Surface Transportation Board to dismiss such alarmists talk and focus on the facts: principally, (1) the use of those rail lines for freight traffic is a pre-existing use, (2) at a time when most of us are concerned about the environment and carbon emissions, the use of rail is environmentally friendly, and (3) the unique experiment here in the Adirondacks of viable human communities in a protected wilderness mandates some support for those human communities. Newcomb and most of Essex County has historically had some of the highest unemployment rates in the state of New York. Use of these old rail lines might help mitigate that situation.

Glenn L. Pearsall, North Creek

Author of "Echoes in These Mountains" and year-round resident of the Adirondack Park since 1964

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