Mountains & Valleys of the rail-trail debate

MOUNTAIN – to the state departments of Transportation and Environmental Conservation for setting public meetings about the management of the 119-mile Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor, where a railroad runs through the heart of the Adirondacks.

The departments’ commissioners reportedly will use information and comments gathered from the public and “stakeholder groups” to determine whether to amend the corridor’s unit management plan: possibly to reinforce railroad use or replace the rails with a multi-use path.

This is one of the hottest debates in the Park today, and it’s important for the state, which owns the corridor, to have it all out in a formal manner. The more fair and reliable the process, the more universally respected the decision will be.

MOUNTAIN – to the amount of public interest there is in this decision, based on the comments people have made to us in person and the letters and Guest Commentaries we’ve received for publication. Please don’t let your interest wither on the vine; now’s the time to make use of it.

We strongly encourage anyone interested in this issue to attend one of the meetings and consider speaking up, even if it’s just to simply say which option you prefer. Here’s the schedule of meetings:

-Old Forge: Monday, Sept. 9, 6 to 9 p.m., Town of Webb Park Avenue Office Building, 183 Park Ave.

-Ray Brook: Tuesday, Sept. 10, 1 to 4 p.m., DEC Region 5 headquarters, 1115 State Route 86

-Utica: Monday, Sept. 16, 1 to 4 p.m., State Office Building, 207 Genesee St.

-Tupper Lake: Tuesday, Sept. 17, 6 to 9 p.m., The Wild Center, 45 Museum Drive

Or send the departments a written comment: by email to, by fax to 518-457-3183 or by mail to Raymond F. Hessinger, Director, Freight and Passenger Rail Bureau, New York State Department of Transportation, 50 Wolf Road, POD 54, Albany, NY 12232. The deadline is Sept. 25.

State officials need to hear from as many people as possible.

VALLEY – to the state departments of Transportation and Environmental Conservation for scheduling two of their four public meetings on the great rail-trail debate for mid-afternoon on weekdays, a bad time for most people who have jobs. Evening would have been better.

Nevertheless, the Tri-Lakes area, where the debate is hottest, does have the benefit of two meetings: in afternoon in Ray Brook and at night in Tupper Lake. You may have to drive a bit to get to the one that works for you, but it’s worth it.