With regard to the question of whether or not to turn Adirondack railroad tracks into a bike path, I would like to add my views based on recent experience.
My wife and I just spent a week bicycling rail trails in Pennsylvania. We went to Pennsylvania because that’s where we found the bike trails we wanted to use. We spent about $1,200 on motels, meals, and gasoline. I am sure the couple we traveled with spent about the same amount.
I asked staff at several motels if bicyclists were an important part of their business. They said the long and well-surfaced bike trails in their area attract lots of summer business for them. Many of those trails provide a market for bike shops and bike-shuttle services, too. One motel even had storage space for a few bicycles so we did not have to bring them into our room.
I would have preferred to bike trails in New York, especially in the Adirondacks, but with the exception of the Erie Canalway, our local bike trails tend to be shorter and less scenic than the trails we rode in Pennsylvania.
I have no reason to think my wife and I are unique. I am sure that a long, well-surfaced bike trail on the existing rail line from Lake Placid to Old Forge, a trail passing through miles and miles of forest and beside and across numerous water bodies, would attract many cyclists from both within and outside this state who would bring lots of money with them to spend in the Adirondacks on food, lodging, and other goods and surfaces.
David C. Furman Jr., Niskayuna