Makings of a successful rail trail

So, how does one rid themselves of a pesky tourist railroad and get a successful rail trail at the same time? The makings of such are easily accomplished with minimal effort on the end of the trail enthusiast and can give the result of a world-class walking trail.

First and foremost, one must tear up the tracks and scrap the equipment using said line. The funds raised there-through will pay for a fraction of the trail’s cost, so go for taxpayer funds to finish the rest of the project. Easy enough, as most of the populace is willing to put their tax dollars to a multi-use trail that is of excellent quality. Another method of funding would be the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as most likely there would be damage on the line from previous disasters. Ulster County Executive Michael Hein has proven such a course of action to be plausible and already has access to $2 million that are ready for the trail conversion of the Catskill Mountain Railroad. So if the tracks are in place, simply get the funding to repair the railroad, tear out the tracks, and apply those funds to the trail project.

But let’s assume that the railroad is well entrenched and has funding to fight your moves. Simply put, sabotage their efforts. Rewire the locomotives to prevent their safe use; tear out bridges that are in need of immediate removal due to damage they may cause to the environment. (The lead paint that may be on the structure will be far more dangerous than the contaminated topsoil and subgrade that will be dumped into the river to access the location of the damaged bridge.) Those two options, if done simultaneously, will render the railroad unable to operate and will leave no immediate consequence for the trail advocate, legal or otherwise.

Finally, what of the positive economic benefits wrought by the snowmobilers, dirt bikers and ATVers? Assuming one is to use a motorized vehicle to traverse the trail, there would be two ventures that could succeed along said trail. One would be the ever-expanding pharmaceutical industry – medicinals such as methamphetamine, heroin and cannabis, all of which have brand recognition and can bring much profit to the entrepreneur who partakes in their sale and production. What research does suggest is that out-of-sight locations serve as the best business locations for the pharmaceutical industry. Why that is the case is beyond the scope of this essay, although a rail trail through the middle of nowhere would open up a greater market for those already in the industry and those wishing to break into the industry.

Now there’s no reason to put to waste the work already performed. Take the train station in Tupper Lake. While it has been restored, the money has been a simple waste, as obviously the trains (operated by the Adirondack Scenic Railroad) will not be able to make the run due to the diligent actions of rail trail activists. As such, one must wonder what a bicyclist or off-road motorist might do when it comes time to locate refreshment. A simple pub would easily be able to make use of a structure such as a train station. Simply let the patron stop in to grab an ale, and let them go on their way. Anyone who gets in their way after they stop at the pub obviously is incapable of comprehending that standing in the way of an oncoming motorized vehicle, and while the swerving to avoid the pedestrian can avoid an unfortunate incident, the operator of the vehicle is obviously the victim in such a tragedy, as the pedestrian must think it humorous to jump in the path of a moving vehicle. As such, the fate of the pedestrian would be well deserved given the circumstances.

With those thoughts in mind, one can realize the ease of funding these endeavors and stimulating the economies of the local denizens. The final product will be an excellent, unpaved corridor for recreational usage, with the added benefit of a boost to the economies of the pharmacist and pub owner, encouraging them to expand their business and generate more traffic to the area. What’s better is that it require no maintenance, as the number of people using the trail will certainly keep the weeds and high grass beaten down and won’t require immediate attention by weed sprayers or landscapers. Sadly, my own positions prevent me from being of any real aid. The most I can do is offer these entirely reasonable suggestions on construction of a successful trail system.

Dylan Lambert lives in Leicester, Mass.