Compromise Reached in Syracuse Area Erie Canal Trail Paving – Should Be Model for Adirondack Rail Trail Debate
A long simmering debate in the Adirondack Park concerns whether or not to tear up a section of rails to accommodate recreational trails. Little compromise is to be found in the North County, but that wasn't the case recently in Syracuse.
The state was looking to pave a section of old Erie Canal towpath to make it more accessible. However some residents balked claiming paving the old path would erase an historic remnant. A compromise was reached where a portion of the trail would be paved while a portion would retain its historical feel.
Like parallel rails, the train only works when both are present. Lose one and the engine falls off the tracks.
In the Adirondacks, a similar compromise is making no one happy. At the heart of the dispute is a section of state-owned train tracks between Big Moose and Tupper Lake. There are no regularly scheduled trains on those tracks and the Adirondack Scenic Railroad hopes for track rehabilitation to finally be able to extend their tourist trains from Utica to Lake Placid.
On the other side of the issue are trail advocates who hope to tear up the rails between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid so a multi-use recreation trail can be created.
The state's proposed compromise was so remove the rails between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid to create the trail and rehab the tracks between Big Moose and Tupper Lake, making that the terminus of the railroad from Utica. That's the compromise that no one's happy with.
The most sensible solution, but one that's not on the drawing board, would be having the train tracks and trail run parallel to each other so those on both sides of the dispute can enjoy the Adirondacks.
Railroad tracks make a perfect analogy to this situation. The stated goal of both sides is economic growth in the region. Like parallel rails, the train only works when both are present. Lose one and the engine falls off the tracks.
Bonus Video - Searching for the Ghost of Starr Hill
Near Remsen (and close to the Adirondack rail tracks) is Starr Hill. The Haunts and Legends crew explores the legends of the area.