Adirondack Rail Trail Moves One Step Closer to Reality
The Adirondack Park Agency has approved New York State’s plans to build trail along an underutilized rail corridor between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake. Once completed, the Adirondack Rail Trail will be one of the nation’s most scenic multi-use trails.
Last month, the Adirondack Park Agency voted to approve a compromise between trail and rail advocates, brokered by the New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Transportation (NYSDOT), that would allow for the removal of underutilized railroad tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake. Removing the tracks will lead the way for the construction of the 34-mile Adirondack Rail Trail. The rail trail has been years in the making, and its recent momentum is due in large part to the perserverance of the Adirondack Rail Trail Advocates (ARTA) and support from advocates such as Parks & Trails New York.
The DEC and NYSDOT compromise and February’s decision by the Adirondack Park Agency are welcome steps towards developing what will be one of the nation’s most scenic multi-use trails. While the compromise does not fully embrace the idea of a multi-use trail connecting the High Peaks Region to the Southwestern Adirondacks, it will undoubtedly be a major tourism boost to the region, opening up the corridor to four-season outdoor recreation between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake. The Adirondack Rail Trail will also be one of the few relatively flat long-distance trails in the region. This means the trail will be great for snowmobilers and cross country skiers during the winter, and bikers and walkers during the rest of the year.
Advocates hope that New York State will eventually allow the Adirondack Rail Trail to extend an additional 56 miles from Tupper Lake to Old Forge, creating a 90-mile long trail between Lake Placid and Old Forge. Meanwhile, a crucial next step for the development of the trail will be securing funding for all or part of the 34 miles from Lake Placid to Tupper Lake. Considering the trail’s significant expected economic impact and recreational value, all signs point to continued development and future expansion, with New Yorkers soon having another great place to enjoy the Adirondacks.