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Saranac Lake mayor inspects RR tracks to Tupper Lake

Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau heads to Tupper Lake on a high-railer pick-up truck along the railroad tracks Thursday, Sept. 13 to see whether it's feasible to build a recreation path next to the tracks. He was joined by Trustee Tom Catillaz and members of the media.

Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau heads to Tupper Lake on a high-railer pick-up truck along the railroad tracks Thursday, Sept. 13 to see whether it's feasible to build a recreation path next to the tracks. He was joined by Trustee Tom Catillaz and members of the media. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— Although everyone agrees that a recreation path should be built, one question remains. Should they build it with or without the tracks? And each group has asked local municipalities to choose a side.

Saranac Lake Village Board members want to do their homework before picking one plan over another; therefore, the mayor decided to inspect the railroad corridor for himself, without taking the words on face value from ARTA or the Adirondack Scenic Railroad.

“We hear different facts from each side, and there’s a lot of speculation,” Rabideau said.

Catillaz, who is also running for Harrietstown supervisor this fall, has ridden along the rail corridor before, on a snowmobile from Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake.

“I have not been all the way in the summertime, though,” Catillaz said. “And I wanted to see what it’s like and how many wet spots there are that would have to be filled in or however they plan to do it. So far, it’s a great trip and we’re not even to Lake Clear yet.”

And so they passed Lake Colby, Charlie’s Inn, Lake Clear, St. Regis Canoe Outfitters at Floodwood Road and numerous ponds, lakes and wetlands surrounded by thousands of trees on a warm, sunny afternoon. The trip took two hours, ending around 6 p.m., and the mayor, Catillaz and members of the media met family members in Tupper Lake for rides home after refreshments at P-2’s Irish Pub.

The mayor expects that his homework on the rail trail will take months to finish.

“I’d like to see a resolution of this issue within a year,” Rabideau said. “Once we have a decision, let’s get behind it one way or another and go. I did personally speak to the governor about this issue, and I told him that we’re trying to build a consensus, and he’s waiting to hear about that consensus.”

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