The Adirondack Park Agency is accepting comments on an amendment to the Remsen – Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan (UMP) Amendment. This APA is taking comments until April 20, 2020, though given the COVID-19 outbreak in New York this deadline is likely to be extended.
The Remsen – Lake Placid Travel Corridor plan was originally approved in 1996. The plan is now being updated and is proposing major changes. This 2020 UMP Amendment proposes a a preferred alternative (7) that calls for rehabilitating rail service between Remsen and Tupper Lake, which “includes the extension of operating rail service 45 miles from the Big Moose Station to the Tupper Lake Station.” The section from Big Moose Station to the Tupper Lake is routed through some of the major Wilderness areas in the Adirondack Park. The other major proposal in for the conversion of the rail corridor between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid to a “34-mile multi-use recreational trail” for biking, walking, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.
The Executive Summary in the UMP states:
The 119-mile Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor (Corridor) is a unique public land resource. Its uninterrupted length, historical significance, and extremely gradual and low cumulative gradient set it apart from other public land resources in the Adirondack Park. No other Forest Preserve unit intersects as many natural and human communities. From the remoteness of the Five Ponds Wilderness Area to the community centers it traverses, the Corridor connects Adirondack inhabitants and visitors alike with the landscape, allowing them to directly access core Wilderness and Wild Forest lands within the Adirondack Park.
The 1996 Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan / Environmental Impact Statement (1996 UMP/EIS) has governed the use of the Corridor for more than 20 years. The 1996 UMP/EIS provided for continuation and expansion of rail use along the entire length of the Corridor and prescribed the development of a parallel trail where feasible.
However, based on the growing public interest to plan and implement a strategy for the Corridor that maximizes its full public benefit and the challenges of implementing the continuous rail-with-trail concept within the Corridor, the Commissioners of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) reached out to the public in 2013 to ask if the 1996 UMP/EIS should be revisited to determine the best future uses of the Corridor. In response to public input, the Commissioners agreed that the 1996 UMP/EIS should be amended to consider the conversion of the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment to a recreational trail. A second round of public involvement in 2014 confirmed their decision to amend the 1996 UMP/EIS to consider a new preferred alternative that would divide the Corridor into rail with parallel trail where feasible and trail-only segments.
The 1996 UMP/EIS identified 6 alternatives and selected Alternative 6 (full rail development and parallel trail where feasible) as the preferred alternative. This 2020 UMP Amendment/SEIS proposes a new alternative, Alternative 7, which calls for rehabilitating rail service between Remsen and Tupper Lake (RTL Segment), which includes the extension of operating rail service 45 miles from the Big Moose Station to the Tupper Lake Station, and for the conversion of the Corridor between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid (TLLP Segment) to a 34-mile multi-use recreational trail.
Below are three maps that show the Remsen – Lake Placid Travel Corridor for its entire length and two maps that show the parts of the rail corridor between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake that is proposed for conversion to a multi-use rail trail.
Here are the Remsen – Lake Placid Travel Corridor UMP documents: