I am surprised by your reporter’s description of the nonprofit Adirondack Scenic Railroad as “a shoestring operation” [“A trainload of questions,” November/December 2013], especially when you send me requests for a donation to keep your nonprofit magazine afloat! Most of the search-and-rescues and fire protection in the Park are done by struggling nonprofit volunteer organizations.
I am amazed by the way you gloss over the major accomplishments of the railroad. In the last five years they have paid off all long-term debt and have paid down most of their accounts payable. Also within the last two years ASR even bought two locomotives for cash. ASR has also carried 1.2 million passengers since 1992 and has a safety record second to none.
You show too little respect for the qualifications of Executive Director Bethan Maher. She is incredibly hard working. You point out her work with indigenous women in Mexico. She developed her skills there and at her earlier nonprofit work. Both experiences have proven remarkably useful when dealing with a large-scale volunteer operation spread over 141 miles of territory.
Your reporter points out a shortage of volunteers. Most volunteer organizations are short of volunteers. They use the talent that is available even if the few do most of the work.
If the Adirondack Scenic Railroad’s success story was experienced by any other nonprofits in the Adirondacks you would be trumpeting how great it is. Where is your support for our success story?
Doug Masters, Old Forge
Masters is a volunteer for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad.