Don’t pull up the rail line

A tourist train operates on portions of the ninety-mile rail line. Photo by Susan Bibeau
A tourist train operates on portions of the ninety-mile rail line.
Photo by Susan Bibeau

I would like to take issue with your continuing barrage of support for a rail-trail conversion for the Old Forge-to-Lake Placid corridor [Editorial, March/April 2014]. Repetition does not strengthen your case, and one-sided, myopic thinking does not add clarity. What’s more, your support for a conversion seems to run counter to your stated goals and, to me, seems misguided.

To start with, how can Tom Woodman “rail” against the state approving a snowmobile connector trail in the Essex Chain Tract [Editorial, January/February 2014] while endorsing the increased snowmobile traffic through several Wilderness Areas (like Whitney and Round Lake) that would come with conversion? Much of the existing rail line serves as a wildlife corridor, and increased illegal motorized traffic (in the form of summertime four-wheeler use) would not help.

There might be maintenance issues with a conversion, as highlighted by Brian Mann [“Rail-trail questions,” March/April 2014], and ripping up the rails would limit future options. Just because gasoline is plentiful now does not mean it will be so fifty or one hundred years from now.

Recreational trails exist now in the Old Forge-Inlet area (the Tobie Trail), need completion along the old Erie Canal (Albany to Buffalo), and could be expanded in the Tupper Lake-Lake Placid region. The Adirondack rail corridor should be left alone (save for improved access to Beaver River).

Bob Meyers, Ilion

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