Rails and trails would have double the impact

To the editor:

Having read numerous Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates members’ repetitive and negative letters, I wish to offer absolutely positive renderings. I sincerely hope that there will be multi-use trails and rails between towns and villages in the Adirondacks and am involved with a group in Tupper Lake to get one started heading toward the east. Rails and trails.

I have partaken of tourist railroads all over the country (usually with no empty seats) and wish to compare one of these to the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, which will run between Utica and Lake Placid in the very near future.

The Combres and Toltec Scenic Railroad runs between Chama, N.M., and Antonito, Colo., two small villages in the rural regions of the northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.

This through trip from Chama to Antonito is 64 miles long, averages 12 to 22 mph and departs at 8 a.m., with a return by bus at 4:30 p.m. Ridership is 40,000 passengers annually between May 25 and Oct. 20. This train is not for destination. It is for scenery. Chama has a population of 1,199, and Antonito has a population of 873! There are no large population bases to draw from in the area and no villages along the ride. Yet 40,000-plus people from the USA and the world are its ridership. This railroad has developed a significant tourist base for this rural area.

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad is likewise similar in length but also has numerous added advantages:

1. Several towns and tourism stops along the way between Utica and Lake Placid

2. Extremely large population base available at the southern end, from Amtrak across the country, Utica, Syracuse, New York City Pullman service, etc., etc.

3. Exceptional scenery on this trip through the Adirondacks and tourist attractions along the way and near the northern terminus

4. Inexpensive and easy, relaxing access to the Adirondacks without fighting traffic, log trucks, campers or erratic drivers on our narrow, bumpy roads.

Daniel C. Mecklenburg

Tupper Lake