Respectfully giving reasons to keep rails

To the editor:

I’m not going to write at length again about the reasons I believe the railroad tracks through the Adirondacks should not be torn up, but I would like to address several issues raised by those who advocate their removal.

First of all, not all of us who have expressed the opinion that it will prove to be a great error to tear up the tracks are train buffs; I couldn’t tell you one kind of locomotive from another. Nor are we all ignorant sentimentalists who simply want a piece of living history to remain intact, or better, to be restored to be fully functional.

There may be a few people who are anti-snowmobile or hate bikes, but I haven’t met any so far. Most people I’ve heard from wish to see a dual use, side by side, rail and trail.

Secondly, the removal of the tracks, and with it their long-term potential for many uses, would only add a week or two on either end of the season for the snowmobile riders. They already have the full use of the right of way for most of the winter. It takes some snowpack to make any trail usable, and not much more than that to cover the tracks. If the trail will draw so many people, why aren’t we already seeing this huge revenue from them?

Lastly, my biking days are over, but back in the 1970s I several times pedaled from Indian Lake to Saranac Lake, via the roads, and enjoyed every second of it. Anyone who is fit enough to bike 90 miles doesn’t need a totally flat grade to make the trip. Part of the joys of long bike rides are the ups and downs. There already is a bike lane for the whole route, and a good number of riders use it each summer. Some people, for sure, would take the trip over the trail, but I believe the projected numbers given are greatly inflated.

If we must disagree and cannot work together to find a common solution that will benefit various concerns, let’s at least try to be civil and courteous in our comments about those we disagree with.


Keith Gorgas