Railway Preservation News

Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Placid
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Author:  Randy Gustafson [ Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

Remember that the railroad operates under a permit from the state - they have no underlying access to the actual land deeds or easements - only the state does. A lot of these were done 'quick and dirty' as quit-claim deeds only from the railroad to the state, leaving the new 'owner' to straighten out the mess at some future date. Still happens today.

Considering how late the railroad was built up there - 1892 is the reference date of record for the 'Adirondack Centennial', the likelihood of easements or condemnations is a lot higher. And, the later it got, the better deed language got (compared to some of the handwritten deeds I've seen from pre-Civil War transfers) in terms of just what a 'railroad deed' meant and the reversionary conditions.

Remember the normal current process is an abandonment by a carrier here and trail conversion within voluntary abandonment and trail assumption , but this was in the messy PC abandonment period where not all the rules were crystal clear on what a 'railroad' deed meant until the tracks were physically removed. The 'Interim Trail Use' designation is applied by the carrier and approved by the STB, and didn't get here until the 1983 act. If you're pushing the current or potential 'carrier' out on the end of a gun through adverse government action, the STB is not necessarily amused even if an original abandonment process was fuzzy (See South Bend v. CLSSB). This is also a real situation where actual common-carrier passenger transportation rather than just excursions can be considered as a legitimate goal of rail corridor preservation. This wouldn't be the first time that a public corridor owner needed a cooperative carrier to meet the requirements of trail conversion without reversion kicking in.

If nothing else, the potential for throwing rocks in the gears has greatly increased, as well as the likelihood that this kicks into the STB process in order to proceed, and you can measure that in dog lives and cubic dollars.

If you want to see one of the messiest, most expensive botched trail conversion processes you've ever seen, look at what happened to the Port Royal Railroad post-abandonment, when the county tried to force trail conversion against property owner will. http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/ ... 97244.html

Geez, it's still not over since 2009 - this was four days ago: http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/ ... 29721.html

Author:  cjvrr [ Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

Unfortunately the State has deep pockets and several local businesses and adjacent land owners that will find a way around this hiccup. My thinking is NY could make the state the 'railroad' and use the "Interim Trail Use" designation and move forward.

And I am of the opinion that a rail with adjacent trail would be the best use.

Will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Author:  dinwitty [ Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

The railroad is not at issue, its they want to remove the rails the properties revert.

Now they want to add the trail, then they may have to look at the properties.

I wouldn't mind being one of those land owners, the state seems to be wanting so bad to have something like the trails and throw any kind of money at it its a good time to land own that and really play them. A deep pocket and plenty of lawyers would not sway me. The state wants something with the trail even to rip the tracks out. Or somebody wants to rip the tracks out.

I would watch all this very carefully, because it still feels something is rotten in Denmark.

Author:  Dougvv [ Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

Hi dinwitty,

Your good comment triggered a possible no longer valid memory.

I think the Rails to Trails movement was originally to permit an unused rail line to be used as a trail. The rails were to be kept in place to keep the corridor from reverting to the original owners (in the case where there were reversionary clauses) and to keep the corridor for future reversion to rail use.

The Seaboard Air Line corridor from Atlanta, GA to Birmingham, AL has been completely remade into a paved trail after the rail line had been abandoned by Family Lines/CSX.

I'm not saying this is a bad use for the corridor. Just trying to figure out if I'm getting two or more different programs confused under the title of Rails to Trails.


Doug vV

Author:  dinwitty [ Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

The Adironack line is not abandoned, is very active. Ripping it out is like ripping out the NYC mainline from New York to Chicago so the ATV gang can partee.

Author:  Randy Gustafson [ Wed Oct 05, 2016 4:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

One thing is for certain - if they didn't document resolve all the easements and deeds when they originally acquired the corridor, a whole lot of work will be necessary to reconcile that now. And while a good number may 'play nice' with a trails concept (or be happy with a big enough check), I'd be stunned, if considering the rather independent nature of residents living up there, that somebody didn't basically dig in and demand their land back if the railroad is gone. Fence & shotgun time (Which I've seen in South Dakota).

You do forget what it was like before 1983. There are still some very nice, very abandoned right-of-ways in this region that will never see trails as the rails were removed, the property reverted, game over. Trails people look at a right-of-way and still think, somehow, they are entitled to use it. Eminent domain applies to railroads, not trails, and you can expect an expensive pitched battle if you try it. Remember the B&ML?
http://bangordailynews.com/2016/06/22/n ... n-belfast/

Author:  robertjohndavis [ Wed Oct 05, 2016 4:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

And let us not forget Belfast got their rail trail by forcing the abandonement of an active rail line. The ownership of said line made that relatively easy. Stupid, but easy.

Author:  robertjohndavis [ Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

I am working on a larger opinion piece (to be published somewhere as yet undecided) about the Adirondack rail debacle, but I submitted a more digestible version as a letter to the editor of The Sun. You can read it here:


In the comments, I was accused by a reader of being off base, as I called the proposed trail a "hiking" trail. According to the reader, it is a "biking" trail.

Apparently, I forgot to assume that a "biking" trail is needed because there is no existing bike tourism in the area around Saranac Lake. This, in order to create such a thing, the railroad must be torn out. Tearing it out means making two operating enterprises cease operation in Saranac Lake (Rail Explorers rail bikes and he tourist train). Of course, this is OK as it will give rise to much needed bike tourism.

Well, well, what do you know?

According to this article there already is bike tourism in Saranac Lake and it brought in $400,000 to the region for one event using existing infrastructure: http://www.suncommunitynews.com/sports/bike-event-was-big-success-say-organizers/

One could wonder why a town that has THREE tourist draws (bicycling, rail biking and train rides) would want to kill two for the sake of one?

As I stated in my letter, I believe this is more of an anti-rail movement than a pro-trail effort.

The Lake Placid-Saranac Lake area is blessed with plenty of places to ride and hike. In the winter, they even get to snowmobile on the railroad right of way as the trains stop running.

So why, with so many options for outdoor activities, would they want to sacrifice the only railroad for more of what they already have in abundance... while also shutting down two attractions?

Yes, something is rotten here. Hopefully, the scam will be exposed before any damage is done.


Author:  J3a-614 [ Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

Story about a NEW snowmobile trail in the Adirondacks. . .which are supposedly so fragile. . .I would like someone to tell me why this can't be done along the railroad.

http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2016/ ... l#comments

Author:  thebigham [ Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

http://www.newyorkupstate.com/outdoors/ ... _plan.html

Could ownership issues halt $23 million Adirondack rail, trail plan?
updated October 17, 2016 at 7:30 PM

Recent revelations that the state does not own full title to the entire Remsen-Lake Placid rail corridor raises questions about whether the state's controversial $25 million Adirondack rail, trail plan is still a go, according to opponents of the plan.

State officials, though, remain optimistic.

"As is often the case in projects like this, title questions arise that must be resolved," according a statement from the state Department of Environmental Conservation send to NYup.com today. "DEC and DOT researched the deeds and title to the railroad corridor relating to the acquisition of the corridor by the State in 1974 and determined that four parcels along the corridor are under the ownership of entities other than the State."

One parcel involves about 3,000 feet of feet of land in the village of Saranac Lake where the rail train passes through property owned by North Country Community College, along with two other parcels jointly owned by Essex and Franklin counties, the DEC said. A fourth involves land owned by the Lake Placid/North Elba Historical Society in the village of Lake Placid.

DEC officials, though, insist the ownership issues are minor and will be resolved. Despite a lawsuit, work on the plan is scheduled to begin this spring, DEC Regional Director Robert Stegemann told Adirondack Explorer magazine in a story scheduled to be published in the magazine's November-December issue.

The owners of Adirondack Rail Explorers have already made plans to be at two different locations next spring -- one in Rhode Island, the other in Catskills.

One of the local businesses negatively affected by the plan – Adirondack Rail Explorers – has already made plans to begin operating their unique business at two other locations this spring....

Author:  dinwitty [ Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

-as is often the case-....

someone has a pipe dream that is impossible to implement, how many times has this happenned? Just start ramrodding your project and don't think.

Author:  Chris Webster [ Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

An mailed bulletin from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation:

DEC Notifies Residents of Helicopter Survey of Recreational Trail Corridor
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation sent this bulletin on 10/21/2016 10:37 AM EDT

DEC Notifies Residents of Helicopter Survey of Recreational Trail Corridor
Helicopter to Fly over Lake Placid to Tupper Lake Trail Corridor on October 2

The New York State Department of Environmental (DEC) announced today that a low-altitude helicopter flight will take place over the recreational corridor between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake on Tuesday, October 25, in preparation for design and construction of a multi-use recreational trail.

The helicopter will videotape the corridor and its historic features as part of efforts to preserve the historic railroad prior to removing the rails and ties. Additional flights will be taken after all the leaves have fallen to survey the corridor using a light detection system known as LIDAR and to obtain aerial photogrammetry data. These flights will fly at higher altitudes.

In May 2016, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the final plan to govern the use of the 119-mile travel corridor from Remsen to Lake Placid. The final plan, signed by DEC and the Department of Transportation (DOT), describes the means to maximize the future use and economic benefits of the corridor. The State is implementing the plan with $15 million to upgrade the rail line between Big Moose and Tupper Lake and $8 million to build a multi-use recreational trail between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.

The plan calls for DEC to manage the design, construction, and operation of the 34-mile recreational trail. Since late summer, a stakeholder group has been working to inform the development of a conceptual design and operation plan for the trail.

The stakeholder group is comprised of elected officials or their delegated representatives from the three villages and four towns along the corridor, DEC, the Olympic Regional Development Authority, Office of General Services, Adirondack Park Agency officials, and local representatives from the biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling communities.

A draft conceptual design and operation plan will be shared with the public for review and comment in the next few months. The final conceptual trail design will be used to develop a request for proposals to design and construct the trail. Rail removal and trail construction are anticipated to begin in 2017.

Author:  Dougvv [ Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla


The helicopter will videotape the corridor and its historic features as part of efforts to preserve the historic railroad prior to removing the rails and ties.

Is this an oxymoron? Preserve the railroad prior to tearing it out? <GRIN>

Doug vV

Author:  dinwitty [ Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

thats not preserving the railroad, all the messages saying a switch to a rail trail, and there's no resolution to the land ownership.


above link no longer valid error 404

Author:  dinwitty [ Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

A lttle snooping found this.

http://www.adirondackcouncil.org/upload ... _Areas.pdf

Adirondack Park Agency to Decide the Fate of Forest Preserve Areas
We Need Your Help to Stop ATV Damage in the Park
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently proposed amendments to Unit
Management Plans (UMPs) and an administrative action
that would close 54 roads to all
terrain vehicle
(ATV) use by the general public in the western part of the Park. These UMP amendments will ensure that
ATV access on Forest Preserve lands is consistent with state law and will protect the natural resources
from further ATV damage.
The DEC has submitted the proposed UMP amendments and the administrative action to the Adirondack
Park Agency (APA) for its review. The APA will be deciding the fate of these amendments at the
upcoming Agency meeting in July. ATVs
could be banned from this part of the Forest Preserve this
summer if you write a letter to the Park Agency today!
Why This is Happening
The DEC evaluated 54 roads that are currently open to ATV access within the Aldrich Pond,
Independence River, Black Riv
er and Watson’s East Wild Forest areas to determine which ones were
suitable for public ATV access. They found that the State Vehicle and Traffic Law prohibits the use of
ATVs on roads that are open to motor vehicle use, unless they provide ATVs access to
adjacent areas
which they could not otherwise get to. DEC concluded that many of these roads do not comply with this
state law and that they must be closed to ATV’s use by the general public.
To close the roads to ATVs, the DEC proposed amendments to three
of the UMPs for these areas and an
administrative action for the Watson’s East Wild Forest. Presently, this area does not have a UMP, so
those roads must be closed via administrative action until a UMP can be created.
And Why It is so Important
For years,
the Council has heard from its members and others that ATVs have been "chewing up" the
Forest Preserve. Like you, we believe that the Forest Preserve belongs to all New Yorkers. It should be
protected from destruction by a few people with powerful machine
s that can cause ecological damage in
a matter of minutes. There are thousands of acres of conservation easement lands and other private
properties in the Adirondacks that are far better suited for ATV use.
The Council has seen and documented ATV damage on
the Forest Preserve. We have been working with
the NYS Legislature to ban ATVs from all Forest Preserve areas in the Adirondacks. A bill to do that is still
under consideration in both houses. But in the mean time, these proposed amendments are a great st
in protecting the Forest Preserve from further ATV abuse.

The APA is a problem child, I feel if the Catskill Mountain goes to trail the same ATV damage would occur. I have new neighbors bought a nearby farm house, they have these ATVs and really tore up some of the land around the home. I am totally not for these trails.

There is a wintertime trail only for snowmobilers north of me and there are trail markers "stay on this trail". its on farm land and is temporary, they know the tearup these machines can do.

there was a change of administration in June

http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/ ... commission

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