It Should Not be About Rails Versus Trails

The rails and related infrastructure should be preserved and rehabilitated. They are important economic development assets and are part of a system listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. At the same time, the State of New York, with local government and not-for-profit partners, should complete a pragmatic implementation plan for the current UMP that clearly defines a north-south trail system to meet the needs of recreational users, including snowmobilers who have full access to the corridor during the winter.

We are pleased that ARPS recognizes that trains should be used as for recreational access, moving people and their kayaks, canoes, mountain bikes and other gear to launch points and trail heads along the corridor. Just imagine how the rail line and a trail system between communities could help our region become a stronger destination for paddlers, mountain bikers, and hikers.

Building synergy between rails and trails is a core objective of the current UMP. We don’t need to waste valuable resources and time revising that document. We need to make it work for both rail and trail related activities and for the communities along the corridor. A man I greatly respect has said, “people in the Adirondacks would rather fight than win.” While we have moved beyond that in most areas through such good efforts as the Common Ground Alliance and the Adirondack Futures Project, the rail versus trail argument is a perfect example of preferring fighting over winning.

Stephen M. Erman, President,

Adirondack North Country Association

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