ARTA plans to hire executive director; OSI applies for grant for trailhead development
By Chloe Bennett
There is light at the end of the tunnel for the Adirondack Rail Trail, a multi-use path that would connect Lake Placid to Tupper Lake but advocates intend to lend a flare.
According to Lee Keet, secretary and treasurer for the Adirondack Rail Trail Association, the organization is looking to hire an executive director for the nonprofit to help enhance the Department of Environmental Conservation’s plans for the trail.
The project will replace a passenger railway with a trail for recreational use.
The Adirondack Rail Trail will be built in phases and is set to be completed in 2025. The first stage will be a solid path connecting Saranac Lake with Lake Placid and is scheduled to open in Sept. 2023, DEC said. Simultaneously, work is being done on to rehab the existing rail line from Tupper Lake to Old Forge.
DEC expects work on the ground on the Adirondack Rail Trail to begin before the end of the 2022 construction season, but does not anticipate the first phase of construction being completed until late summer 2023. The projected cost is $22.9 million, but that could change, the DEC said.
“Now that they’re in actual construction mode and that the tracks have been removed, it’s time for the business community and the municipalities along the corridor to get together to decide how the outward-facing efforts will go,” Keet said.
RELATED: Rail and trail: Your questions answered
The executive director will focus on public-oriented aspects of the organization’s work, including a centralized donation and grant process and publicity. Interviews for the position are underway, Keet said, but the organization has not made a final decision yet. “We would like to fill it this year,” he said.
In July, a grant application was submitted by the Open Space Institute to build a trailhead in Lake Placid that would open with the completed trail. The conservation organization is looking to help build a parking lot with around 43 slots, green space and bathrooms for the proposed project. Peter Karis, vice president for parks and stewardship at OSI, said the trailhead would help the public feel welcome and perhaps lead to using the trail responsibly.
Rail corridors such as the Adirondack Rail Trail reconnect communities and have benefits that extend beyond exercise, Karis said. “They are such a driver to the local economy.”
As of last month, The Adirondack Park Agency is taking public comments on the trail’s potential impact on wetlands in the park. The DEC said in an environmental notice bulletin that the entire project will impact fewer than 0.5 acres of wetlands.
Comments may be submitted in writing to Bart Haralson at P.O. Box 99, Route 86, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or to RPcomments@apa.ny.gov. Phone comments may also be made to (518) 891-4050. The comment period ends Aug. 4.
Don’t miss a thing
Sign up for our “Adk News Briefing” newsletter, a weekly look at the hottest Adirondack stories
LeRoy Hogan says
The never ending rail trail story is what I am seeing.
“and later extend to Old Forge”. This is totally inaccurate. You should correct this. The current plan is for a SL-LP rail trail, and to refurbish the rails from Tupper to Old Forge. I know the trail advocates don’t like it but that was the decision.
That was my impression as well.
It looks like it was corrected.
LeRoy Hogan says
My head tilted also with that.
Melissa Hart says
Sorry about the mistake!
Bob Liseno says
This project is taking rediculously forever. The rail trails in Vermont are either complete or nearly so. They are long and scenic.. The Empire Trail is done and is wonderfully scenic and historical. Its hundreds of miles long. I fear our little trail is being being outclassed by all those around us.
ADK Camper says
The Empire trail in the ADK is Route 9…
Are parts of it okay to ride now? I don’t want to be in the way of any of the workers, but am anxious to ride it. I’ve heard the gravel is kind of large, but I figured my fat tire bike, might fit the bill.
My guess is that they are waiting to “cap” the coarse gravel with gravel “dust” until the end of the construction on each leg. Otherwise, heavy equipment can damage the “dust” cap which should smooth it out nicely. As far as time schedule, I have no clue. I would expect the LP to SL leg to finish first, but that is speculation.
I saw a homeless guys trying to push a shopping cart on it the other day. Was having a lot of trouble…..
I don’t think you are supposed to use it yet. It is only very course crusher. At least the part near SL. I haven’t seen the rest.
DARLENE galli says
Will horseback riding be permitted?
Don’t quote me on this, but as I recall, horseback riding will not be permitted. For one reason, the interaction of cyclists and equestrian activities could be a safety issue – especially far from roads. Another reason is that the surface they are supposed to lay down – a smooth gravel “dust” surface – is easily damaged by horses’ hooves – sometimes even more so than ATV tires!
Perhaps they will consider sections available to horses only, but I don’t recall that being mentioned in the planning stages.
Madeleine McGinley says
I am so looking forward to to completion of this trail! It’s difficult to ride on such coarse gravel as it is now so I really hope they top it off. Where I live in the Hudson Valley we have endless miles of rail trails that are completed in fewer years. ADK can do better!!!
Lisa Sciacca says
Why are they so worried about parking now? Wait to see what is needed.
Along the trail there is parking,
just designate certain areas for Rail Trail Parking and have Porta potties on route. Just focus on getting the trail done so it can be used.