Rail trails help small towns

To the editor:

The Tri-Lakes area can benefit from a recreational trail along the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor, a trail that will provide a safe, scenic, year-round trail accessible to people of all ages and physical abilities. I strongly support this recreational trail, which will transport people and benefit communities. A recreational trail along the Lake Placid-Old Forge rail corridor will benefit the local communities through attracting active families, including bikers, joggers, walkers, birders, wheelchair users, families, cross-country skiers, snowshoers and snowmobilers. From Gary Soquist’s article on “Economic and Social Benefits of Trails,” “Nationally, trail-related expenditures range from less than $1 per day to more than $75 per day, depending on mileage covered. Generally, it’s been found a trail can bring at least one million dollars annually to a community, depending on how well the town embraces the trail.” For a community with art attraction and a bike trail (Laneboro, Minn.), “a trail can mean an annual economic impact of more than five million dollars.” See reference 1.

Communities benefit significantly from recreational trails. Economic impact data has been documented, with significant economic prosperity for rural communities like ours.

“Lanesboro, on the Root River Trail in Southeastern Minnesota, is an often-cited example of the economic impact a trail can have. Pre- and post-trail Lanesboro, a town of about 800 residents, differ dramatically. Before the trail was built, Fillmore County hospitality tax annual collection was less than $250,000. In 2007, thanks to 200,000 trail users each year, hospitality tax collection was $4.7 million.” See reference 2.

“Post-trail Lanesboro boasts 12 B&Bs (with year-long waiting lists), 8 restaurants, an art gallery, a museum, and a thriving community theater well-off enough to offer housing to its actors. Economically speaking, the Root River Trail has been very, very good for Lanesboro.”

The recreational trail along the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor can make the same significant benefit for Tupper Lake, for Saranac Lake, for Lake Placid and for the adjacent communities.

Our local community members and visitors can appreciate our village’s character, their historic nature, the arts that are exceptionally strong here, and our lakes and mountains – and the fact that a bike path flows right through the middle of our communities. “You can sleep and eat here, and there is something to do here at night.” (See reference 3.) The communities grow through small businesses like bakeries and delis, through community resources like art communities and bed and breakfasts, and through the interest in unique stores and interesting historical museums.

I support New York state reviewing its management plan governing the use of the corridor. I support a recreational trail along the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor. For this reason I am urging the state to revise the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor to include a multi-use recreational plan along the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor.

With hope for establishing a recreational trail,

Melinda “Lindy” Ellis

Saranac Lake


1. “The Economic and Social Benefit of Trails” by Gary Sjoquist, Quality Bike Products

2. “Summit Bikes Belong” presentation, Gary Sjoquist, 2011

3. The McKnight Foundation, “Bright Stars: Charting the Impact of the Arts in Rural Minnesota,” by Carlo M. Cuesta, Dana M. Gillespie, Padraic Lillis