Will Douglas be a leader or misleader?

To the editor:

It is curious that our popular governor, whose interest in the Adirondacks has been such a Godsend, has allowed the Department of Transportation to punt the (railroad) unit management plan issue to the North Country Regional Economic Development Council. I’m sure that Gov. Cuomo, who frequents this area, is well aware of the issue but would prefer that the process leading to its resolution not be mandated from outside the Blue Line.

It may well be a test of Mr. Garry Douglas’ ability to lead, who as head of the NCREDC has shown such extreme prejudice in dealing with this contentious issue. Now that it’s on his desk, what can he do? We can only hope that he sees the writing on the wall and immediately requests that the plan be updated. Outside of the current bickering, this update is long overdue, and in fact it is what the Adirondack Scenic Railroad agreed to do every five years from its inception. It has been more than 10 years to update the plan for the rail bed.

Unfortunately, if Mr. Douglas’ past actions are a guide to his leadership, then he will probably want to “study” this issue and sit on it, hoping it will go away. If he does this, he will do it at his own risk. Too many stakeholders see that over the last decade, this precious asset has shown only marginal returns under the management of the tourist train.

And be sure, these stakeholders will not go away. We are fortunate that the Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates has shown such acumen in organizing this effort, which is the reason we have reached this critical juncture. Mr. Douglas will put himself at risk if he buries his head in the sand over this issue. You don’t do that when a pit bull is barking at your heels.

Mr. Douglas, it’s your move.

Lem Hegwood

Ray Brook