Mohawk-Hudson group for rails-to-trail

To the editor:

I am writing in support of the proposed Adirondack recreation trail. I have had a home in Saranac Lake since 1985. My wife and I are members of the Adirondack Mountain Club and Adirondack Ski Touring Council and really believe in the missions of both these organizations. I am also a member of Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, an advocate group to promote and maintain that trail. We have compiled a resolution in support of the Adirondack recreational trail, and it reads as follows:

“The Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail wishes to share its resolution with readers in support of the Adirondack Rail Trail linking Lake Placid and Old Forge on 90 miles of rail corridor through the heart of the Adirondacks. The mission of our thousand-member organization is to develop, through education and stewardship, the historical, recreation and economic opportunities of the Mohawk-Hudson Trail along the Mohawk and Hudson rivers in Albany and Schenectady counties – this being key segment of the New York state canalway trail system and the Hudson River Valley Greenway Trail System.”

As you can see from the following resolution, our interests extend to the Adirondacks, where a spectacular rail-to-trail conversion is just waiting to happen:

“Whereas, our nonprofit organization considers bicycle and pedestrian transportation to be of the utmost importance; and whereas

“The former New York Central line from Lake Placid to Old Forge has been underused for passenger and freight service for decades and has failed, the 17 years since the state’s unit management plan was adopted for this corridor, to expand along the entire route;

“The cost of repairing the rails for full service along this route would require large amounts of government funding;

“The Adirondack Recreation Trail Advocates (ARTA) was created to achieve the rail-to-trail conversion along this corridor and has rallied community widespread support for the project;

“A level, multi-use, year-round trail would provide a type of recreational use currently unavailable in the Adirondack Park;

“The Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail recognize the benefits the trail could bring to the Adirondack region by providing a greater variety of recreation and transportation opportunities, by attracting national and international tourists and by providing for economic and community development;

“We therefore urge local and state governments to take all steps necessary to the further creation of the Adirondack Rail Trail, beginning with a long-overdue review of the unit management plan for the entire 120-mile Remsen-Lake Placid rail corridor, with particular attention to optimum use of the 90-mile section connecting Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Beaver River and Old Forge in what would be one of the nation’s finest rail trails for safe, scenic, healthful, traffic-free use by cyclists, runners, walkers, nature lovers, wheelchair users, young families, senior citizens, as well as for dramatically improved snowmobile use in the winter months.”

Gary A. DeLuke

Saranac Lake and Altamont