About Tim Rowland

Tim Rowland is a columnist, author and outdoors writer living in Jay.

Reader Interactions


  1. Boreas says

    I would like to see filling of pits and removal of tailings as a priority. I admire Mitchell Stone for working to remove the tailings, but I feel a 20 year horizon is not in the best interest of the area. And if Mitchell is not required to fill the pits, how will they be filled once the tailings are gone?

    I would prefer a 5-year horizon with Mitchell continuing their work – hopefully at an increased pace, and another contractor, perhaps financed by NYS, filling the pits at the same time – with filling the pits given the priority.


    Unfortunately, we cannot predict how long Mitchell Stone will have customers. This is why I feel the sooner the tailings are removed and the pits filled, the better. Without trains hauling the material, 20+ years is more realistic. I would think increased Eastern coastal flooding would spur a demand for un-crushed tailings and fill such as this for flood remediation, but it seems the tailings still aren’t valuable enough to ship large-scale. Perhaps the new governor needs to “advertise” this opportunity a little to other Eastern seaboard states.

    • JB says

      Very good insights, Boreas. That would be a legitimate environmental rationale for leaving the tracks. This case illuminates an interesting aspect of the rail vs. rail trail debate: the impetus to keep infrastructure in place for future industrial activity often trumps other interests (i.e., environmental, residential. recreation). Indeed, heavy industry has almost attained a parastatal status in the post-war United States, and perhaps rightly so for an industrialized nation. However, if there was ever a justification to override that sort of rationale, and the apparent secret raison d’etat for rail bikes, the Adirondack Park would be it. Here is an example where the grassroots Adirondack recreation “rainbow coalition” (hikers, bikers, snowmobilers) can really shine. Prioritizing heavy industry in the Adirondacks sets a bad precedent. What happens when they want to start mining, e.g., rare earths?

      • Boreas says


        I have posted this opinion in several places and I forgot to mention an important point – to remove the tracks AFTER the tailings are removed! At least the northern section up to Tahawus. Should a decrepit mine complete with tailings and a restricted river be the proper termination of any rail-trail?

        My feeling is, if you remove the tracks first then build the rail-trail, the first thing recreationists are going to want to see removed is the mine and tailings. Then, it will have to be accomplished as it is now – slowly, by trucks, over a small road, that will likely take decades, if it is ever finished. By committing to a set time period for site remediation BEFORE converting the trail, you don’t put the cart before the horse.

        I am definitely ALL FOR a recreation corridor once the freight aspects of the mine are behind us. But RR freight is definitely the quickest way to remove that amount of material and to bring in/out heavy equipment for the job. I feel the state should be playing a major role in “re-wilding” the site or developing it for recreation. Waiting another 20-30 years for remediation seems foolhardy with a project of this scope. The remediation work isn’t likely to get cheaper another generation down the road.

        • JB says

          Boreas, agreed. The Hochul administration has probably upwards of $100 million slated for economic revitalization in the Adirondack Park! It would be nice to at least see a proportionate amount going towards projects that have the (purported) intention of protecting its environmental integrity! As we have seen, the economic development monies often disappear nether into the abyss. In my uncouth opinion, virtually all appropriated funds should primarily serve the mandates of APA Act.

  2. John says

    Was there ever any follow-up to the USGS investigation (reported in AE in December 2020) as to the potential rare earths value of the tailings? If the content were high enough to make them worthwhile, that might make it more financially feasible to ship the tailings out on an expedited basis.

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