Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

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Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby CampADK » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:12 pm

As many of you may not may not know, The Adirondack Recreational Trail Association (ARTA) has been looking for supporters for the project, a multi-use trail that would replace the existing rail lines between Lake Placid and Old Forge.

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The first phase would include converting the rail line between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake including access trails from Fish Creek and Rollins to the trail. This would provide both hiking and biking options for campers at both campgrounds. Biking from Fish Creek to Tupper Lake would now be an option!

If you have ever camped at Rollins or been in the Floodwood area, you would have seen the old lines. They past by running north/south along the western shore of Rollins Pond and Floodwood Pond.

Please visit the Adirondack Recreation Trail Assocation website for more info.

Also see the Relevant and Questions and Answers PDF file.

You can also find the ARTA on Facebook.

Letter from the Association:

Dear Recreational Trail Supporter:

First, many thanks for signing our register. Now we need your help in three ways: [1] ask your friends to sign up as well at http://www.TheARTA.org, [2] write an email message to one of our local newspapers (details below), and [3] consider becoming a trail Ambassador promoting the trail to friends and colleagues as we will describe later in this note.

We already have over 3550 people who have signed up. But we need thousands more to influence this process. Our goal is a all-season recreational trail that links Lake Placid and Old Forge with the first leg running from Lake Placid to Tupper Lake. Please forward any part of this email or the attachment to your friends who would like a recreational trail, then ask them to forward it on to their friends.

And send an email Letter to the Editor to one of the editors listed below. You may wish to stress or elaborate on points you feel are important. Letters should not exceed 300 words, and shorter is often better. If you have ever been biking or otherwise enjoying a rail-to-trail conversion, you might want to mention that experience.

Who to send your letters to?
• Peter Crowley, Adirondack Daily Enterprise, pcrowley@adirondackdailyenterprise.com
• Rich Rosentreter, Lake Placid News, news@lakeplacidnews.com
• Lois Clermont, Editor, The Press Republican, lcleremont@pressrepublican.com with a copy to letters@pressrepublican.com
• Dan McClelland, Editor, Tupper Lake Free Press - tlfp136@yahoo.com

Our plan is to have those of you who are willing to help become local ambassadors for the trail by holding coffee klatches, neighborhood gatherings, and by talking to your friends, local organizations, and elected officials, all with the objective of getting more people to sign up.

If you are willing to help please reply to this message and we will send you materials and sign-up cards. The materials will let you answer some of the claims and myths being used to try and stop the movement towards a recreation trail. A version of those materials is attached in Acrobat (PDF) format. As an Ambassador you will receive this material as tri-fold handouts.

We hope many of you will volunteer. We will map your responses and reply with territories that either do not overlap or will introduce you to others in your area so you can coordinate efforts.

And we have other good news: we have signed a contract for the Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC) to give us more accurate information on the first leg of the trail, from Lake Placid to Tupper Lake, including access spurs from the Fish Creek and Rollins Pond Camp Grounds and from central Tupper Lake. When we get the results next summer we should be able to tell our elected officials with much more accuracy what we should expect the real costs and returns to be.

And finally, we have formed an alliance with Parks and Trails New York which lets people who want to help defray the cost of the $25,000 RTC study make tax-deductible contributions. Details are on our website, http://www.TheARTA.org.

Please help us get the message out: reply to info@TheARTA.org and we will get you everything you need to become a Trail Ambassador!

The ARTA Steering Committee
Saranac Lake: Dick Beamish, Lee Keet, Joe Mercurio / Lake Placid: Jim McCulley / Tupper Lake: Hope Frenette, Chris Keniston / Keene: Tony Goodwin / Beaver River: Scott Thompson
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Re: Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby kkirsch » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:09 pm

I can't support this, ,my new toy will be a waste of time (oh and it will be so much fun). I need to have at least a couple of years use. Can we get a multi use system since the train would not be using the tracks that much? From what I understand the train would have a schedual of 4 trips a day between old forge and Lake Placid interjected with an occasional excursion run. It doesn't go that fast and would also be a good way to patrol the line since a lot of it is remote.
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Re: Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby hfrenette » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:59 pm

There is currently no proposed timeframe for when, if ever, a train service will run from Old Forge to Lake Placid. Estimates by train supporters have said 10 to 20 years from now. They currently need funding upwards of 45 million dollars to rebuild the tracks between the 2 Villages. We contend that it is too long to wait and too much money to invest into train service that has historically been tried 3 times and has failed 3 times. The train ride between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid is estimated to take approximately 3 hrs one way going at 15 miles per hour which is all the tracks will be rated for. The total estimated time one way from Old Forge to Lake Placid is in excess of 6 hrs. Currently there is serious damage between Tupper Lake and Sabattis which will need to be repaired before the train will even be able to make it to Tupper from Old Forge this spring.

We feel that our communities need the economic stimulus that the trail would bring sooner rather than later. We are in support of the current Adk Scenic Railroad operation from Utica to Old Forge as that train has proven itself to be economically viable and beneficial to the area.

It's a 7 mile level bike ride from Rollins Pond to Tupper Lake and we think that Campers there would enjoy a motor vehicle free trail into the Village and locals would enjoy the ride out to Fish Creek. Our businesses located at the Junction in Tupper Lake are 100% in support of the Recreation Trail.
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Re: Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby kkirsch » Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:50 pm

That surprises me in that I was under the opinion that the washout between Tupper and Sabbatis had been repaired (witness by some excursionist on rail bikes, they have a web page). I was also on the understanding that the line had been completed but not upgraded or sanctioned for rail travel (crossings upgrades, signalage, etc). I was also wondering the affordabillity of maintaining and policing such a corrador through the woods. We have had issues with that in Western NY and I know of Rails to trails in PA and Virginia that have had issues with that as well. Several rail conversion I know here have been closed down due to lack of use due to safety concerns. In fact, that is exactly what has slowed down the upgrade to the Erie Canal towpath which essentially is already there and has been persued for a pedistrian/ bicycle corridor for years. Those problems exist even with irregular but consistent traffic on the canal. With a multi use avenue which includes the train, for the short moments the train passes and creates noise the benefits would outweigh the problems. If you want quiet with hiking there are many trails with a more natural environment. If you really want to create a good biking environment that is totally free from auto traffic, open up and upgrade some of the old logging / fire roads. They are already there, Won't need extensive upgrading or demolition and offer exclusive use. Many the snowmobilists already use. I would also thing with the approval of the big resort / housing / camp approval in Tupper lake a rail line up from Utica and the main line would help feed the economy of the town as well as Saranac lake and Lake Placid. Taking an excursion line and pushing it to regular passenger service.
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Re: Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby hfrenette » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:06 pm

Damage is apparently new this season as reported by snowmobile riders recently. Im not sure if even the rail people know yet. Snowmobilers are supporting our efforts as the tracks are consistently impeeding grooming and causing extensive damage to sleds. I would have to say that the over 200 people that signed up in support this weekend alone were snowmobilers and bicycle season is just around the corner. We are not worried about maintenance we have a plan in the works for that. The 45 million figure is noted in the NYS 2009 Rail Survey. I imagine it will be more now. The communities of Lake Placid and Saranac Lake are pushing very hard for the Trail and they have the tourist train. Lake Placid businesses are on record that it does nothing for them economically and are pushing hard for a trail. This is not about disliking the train but all about what is better economically for our region and getting the most bang for the buck.
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Re: Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby CampADK » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:33 pm

What I like about the rail to trail conversion is the fact that it offers flatlanders a biking option on a flat trail. Biking in the ADK usually means dealing with a lot of hills, as well as being out on the road so it is not usually an option for a lot of people. Have never been on the train, but I bet that route would offer a pretty scenic bike ride.

I could easily set up a survey here on the site to ask campers whether they would use the trail or not.

We of course all know that the bike route added around the ponds wasn't successful as most campers prefer to bike on the road to check out everyones 'stuff' :lol: . A trail which offers the ability to head into Tupper though should be quite different and I would think popular with the camping community.

The trails in Algonguin Provincial Park in Ontario (an old rail line) are quite popular and allow campers to bike between various campgrounds.

Besides the ties being removed, is there an additional base added to allow road bikes, not just mountain bikes to enjoy the trail? ie is it gravel or hard packed?

Thanks Hope!
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Re: Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby hfrenette » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:48 pm

The trail will have a packed crushed stone surface which would be suitable for regular bikes as well as wheelchairs, strollers, etc. I would imagine that the really narrow wheeled racing bikes would not particularly enjoy it. There is a similar trail in Vermont that I have ridden with my road bike without any trouble. There is also a connector trail thru Tupper that could bring you all the way uptown too.
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Re: Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby Marbel » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:05 am

Oh yeah, I am totally on board with this!!! I've been wanting a bike trail for a long time.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=643

I think it will be a huge hit. It will be great having more biking options.
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Re: Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby weR-Podpeople » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:23 am

I camp at Rollins a lot and have hiked some of the rail bed which is not exactly easy going. It was fun in my younger days to balance on the rails and take the ties a couple at a time, but those days are done unless I want to make a trip to Saranac. It would be great to have a maintained bike /hiking trail that was relatively level. It would be even better if it actually went between Tupper Saranac and Placid. :P
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Re: Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby hfrenette » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:38 am

Our plan is to take it all the way from Old Forge to Lake Placid. Check out our website for the map. TheARTA.org. Also feel free to like us on Facebook for further updates on our campaign. We only started this at the end of August 2011 and we have almost 4000 signatures in support. Many of our Canadian friends are very excited about this trail.
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Re: Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby Gail & Steve Collins » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:45 pm

I'm all in favor of better bike paths but I can't see taking out the track that so many people worked so hard to have installed. All the time and money that went into the remodeling or rebuilding of the Thendara, Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake and Lake Placid train stations should just be thrown away? We always ride the train when we're at Fish Creek or Nick's Lake. The rides are beautiful especially in the fall. Why not make the trail wider so that it can accommodate both needs?

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Re: Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby hfrenette » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:09 pm

The train stations can be put to very good use as visitor centers, cafe's, shops, etc. as has been shown on countless other trails acros the country. Because the rail bed is located in the Adirondack Park and crosses over extensive wetlands, ponds and lakes as well as travels thru wilderness areas it will be virtually impossible to widen the railbed. There is no money to bring the tracks up to date much less build a trail next to it. Just the permitting alone will deter it, not to mention the required funding. The Unit Management Plan for the area, that is considered the Transportation Corridor, has recognized the corridor as correct place to build this recreation trail. This plan was put in effect in 1995 and the train was listed as a trial. The economic impact of the train from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake has been negligible and we feel that it is time to try something else. The history of the train in our area (not Utica to Old Forge) has not produced any serious contribution to the economics of the Tri-Lakes. We contend that a majority of people visit the Adirondacks to camp, hike, paddle, bike, ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, etc.. This just provides a more level, entry level, family friendly trail suitable for all types of people.
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Re: Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby hfrenette » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:16 pm

Also, we are fully in support of the tourist train from Utica to Thendara. It has proven to be beneficial to the area due to it's location to the large population base of Utica/Syracuse. We have no large population base in the Tri-Lakes to draw from and the train from Tupper to Lake Placid at 15 miles per hr will be a 5 - 6 hr. round trip. Our research has shown that a 45 minute tourist train is the optimal length of time for a successful operation.
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Re: Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby CampADK » Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:01 pm

An article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in today paper written by a Tupper Lake resident...

http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.co ... l?nav=5041
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Re: Supporting the Adirondack Recreational Trail Association

Postby kkirsch » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:54 am

I think the govt money would be better used upgrading all that is out there. There are many trails that can use improving especially after the big slide in Keene as well as with areas around FC. I look at the boat launches at Follensby where the original privys were removed and now people just use a convenient clearing close to both locations. It gets digusting when the weather gets warm. This also goes for the sites in follensby and along floodwood road as well as other places. Would think improving existing infrastructure to be a first priority other than pulling up tracks that someone has spent the time upgrading (so far about every 6th tie has been replaced)
With this rail to trail conversion, what about those poor people in Lake Clear that have the track going through the right of way right in their yards? Even with a train passing there maybe 4 times a day is not near as bad as having people wandering through their yards. If you look at Bartlet carry which use to be less than 200 yards until the homeowners did not like all the people trudging through their property and messing things up. Now the carry is over 1/2 mile. Then there is the canoe launch at stoney creek, the bolder field up Mt Joe, the lack of facillities in the St Regis canoe area and so on and so on.
I'm sure those with mountain bikes that rather ride a groomed paths or roads would enjoy a nice trail to ride, but why not at least pave it so road bikes can use it. It is all a nice idea but something for times when money is so tight.

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