Your recent article about the railroad vs. a rail trail, “Towns skeptical of train,” [January/February 2012} was interesting, fair, and unbiased. Unfortunately the comments from Kate Fish of the Adirondack North Country Association and Garry Douglas of the state-sponsored North Country Regional Economic Development Council were not.
The North Country Association’s mission is building local economies in the Adirondacks—that is, renewable energy, solar and wind, buying locally etc. Going green seems to be part of that mission. Fish accuses Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA) of “providing misleading information” that is “so vastly over-inflated.” She goes on to say that “train ridership is skyrocketing, Amtrak is skyrocketing.” Amtrak ridership was up 3.5% in 2012. This is skyrocketing?
Garry Douglas, co-chair of the North Country Regional Development Council, is also an advocate of the railroad. As co-chair Douglas has a responsibility to the state and its taxpayers to encourage economic development in the area and to create sustainable jobs. Yet he is disregarding 350,000 people who would like to spend $19.5 million per year using the rail trail. According to him, “revival of rail as an engine of tourism is evident across Europe and now all over America.” From what I can see, cycling of all types, on and off rail trails is increasing much faster.
The numbers favoring the rail trail are compelling.
Doug Ralston, Big Moose, NY, and Chagrin Falls, OH