Regarding the rails-versus-rail-trail debate: What am I missing? Why does it have to be all one or the other? Why not retain the existing tourist-train operations (at the Old Forge and Lake Placid ends) for as long as they remain viable, and develop the multi-use rail trail on the presently unused section of the right-of-way between those ends? That way everyone gets a piece of the pie.
The tourist trains seem to be providing a desirable service for those seeking that experience, and the infrastructure seems to be well developed and in good working order where the trains now operate, so why dismantle it? However, expanding train operations over the entire ninety-mile length of the right-of-way does not seem likely to generate enough additional usage or revenue to make it worth the cost.
The train can complement the trail by providing access to the ends of the rail trail for hikers and cyclists, as it presently does at the Old Forge end.
In any event, the multi-use trail does seem to offer more options for more different types of recreational activities during more of the year than does the train, and at substantially less cost for development, operation, and maintenance.
Ken Kaufman, Skaneateles