Rail-trail meetings start today

OLD FORGE – Public meetings begin today for the state to gather input on its plan for its transportation corridor between Remsen and Lake Placid, which currently is used by the Adirondack Scenic Railroad.

The first meeting is today from 6 to 9 p.m in Old Forge, at the town of Webb’s office building at 183 Park Ave. The second is Tuesday in Ray Brook, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 5 headquarters, 1115 State Route 86.

The other two meetings will be next week:

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.

Each session will include a presentation by the state agencies and informational stations at which the public can give state staff their comments and ideas verbally or in writing.

Written comments also may be submitted by Sept. 25 to nystravelcorridor@dot.ny.gov, faxed to 518-457-3183 or mailed to Raymond F. Hessinger, Director, Freight & Passenger Rail Bureau, NYS Department of Transportation, 50 Wolf Road, POD 54, Albany, NY 12232.

Since the 1996 unit management plan for the corridor, the Adirondack Rail Preservation Society has used the tracks to run tourist trains in summer and fall between Utica and Old Forge and between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. ARPS’ goal is to run trains along the entire corridor. In the winter, the rail corridor is reserved for snowmobiles.

A growing number of people, however, say the state should remove the tracks and resurface the corridor as a trail for bike and foot traffic and easier snowmobile use.