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P.O. Box 1081, Saranac Lake, NY 12983 / info@TheARTA.org                               

Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates

About ARTA

ARTA is a New York based 501c3 not-for-profit corporation dedicated to creating a world class recreation trail from Lake Placid to Old Forge, with a first implementation between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake. 

What we do and are doing

In order to influence the political process, we started in 2010 to demonstrate both a real public demand for a recreation trail and also the benefits and feasibility of converting the rail bed into a recreation trail. In the time since then 13,000 people have signed our petition.  We commissioned additional studies to supplement the Camoin study completed in 2011. The Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC) conducted a paid study in 2012 to give us detailed cost-per-mile construction costs using similar trail conversions (click here for some samples) that took advantage of local labor, volunteers, and local materials, something not addressed in the Camoin study. RTC also looked at connector trails in Tupper Lake and in the Fish Creek/Rollins Ponds areas. In Tupper Lake easy access to downtown and to the Wild Center would be a major draw. In the campsite areas, over 200,000 people come annually, most with bicycles that could access the new trail.

The RTC results were presented on July 11, 2012 at the Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake. Their conclusion: we can build the first leg, from Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake with salvaged rail funds alone.  Once built, we should expect 244,000 new visitors who will spend $19.8 million locally.  Click here for more on this report.

In late 2015 the departments of Transportation and Environmental Conservation published their recommendations for the corridor: namely a rail-trail from Lake Placid to Tupper Lake and the possibility of rail restoration north from Big Moose to Tupper Lake.  In February 2016 the Adirondack Park Agency declared this plan to be consistent with the State Land Use Master Plan (SLMP).  The final step was for the decision to proceed to be published by the Governor, which happened on May17, 2016.  A court challenge by the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society resulted in a vacating of the 2016 UMP.  The State is now deciding whether to appeal and/or revise the SLMP so construction can again begin.  Watch our News Page for updates.

Next Steps

 

ARTA is challenging the court decision as being illogical.  Specifically, the 2016 UMP was drafted 20 years after the 1996 UMP that anticipated conversion of some or all of the corridor to recreation. In the intervening years DOT issued permits for recreational uses of the unused sections of the corridor like snowmobiling and pedal biking, with informal approval of skiing, hiking, etc.  In drafting the 2016 UMO the DEC and DOT relied on this precedent, the 1996 UMP, and a belief that the SLMP allowed for recreational uses.  The Adirondack Park Agency (APA), the agency that drafted and approved the SLMP, also approved the 2016 plan as being consistent with the SLMP.  To conclude, as the judge did, that all three agencies misinterpreted their own regulations stretches credulity.  We are therefore supporting the State's appeal and will seek standing to file another amicus brief.

ARTA believes, however, that if a judge can misinterpret the SLMP once it could do so again.  The intent of the state agencies is clear, so ARTA believes the SLMP should be clarified to make that intent even clearer.  It turns out that can be done by changing just one word in four places and by adding one sentence.  These clarifications would merely confirm what was always intended and therefore should be procedural and easily and rapidly adopted.

Public opinion still counts!  Here are things you can do to influence the outcome:

And Please Donate

You can help us with our mission.  Click here to go to our Donations page.

ARTA Board of Directors

  • Dick Beamish, Middlebury VT.  A veteran environmentalist, Dick founded the Adirondack Explorer Magazine, the most respected source for policy news, opinion, and self-propelled outdoor recreation in the Adirondacks.  Dick recently moved from Saranac Lake to Middlebury but spends considerable amounts of time on his old turf.
  • Hope Frenette, Tupper Lake. Hope is co-owner with her husband Jim of a 26 year old contracting firm, as well as a Commercial Real Estate investor and a NYS licensed Real Estate Broker.  She is an avid skier both downhill and X-country, a hiker, camper, paddler, sportswoman and conservationist. She is also a member of The Wild Center (Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks) and The Adirondack Observatory.
  • Tony Goodwin, Keene. Tony is Executive Director of the Adirondack Trail Improvement Society and creator of the 33-mile Jack Rabbit Ski Trail between Keene and Paul Smiths.  He is the author of “Ski and Snowshoe Trails in the Adirondacks” and the Adirondack Mountain Club’s “Guide to the High Peaks.” Tony served on the original Remsen - Lake Placid Citizens Advisory Committee in 1992
  • Lee Keet, Saranac Lake. Lee is a private equity investor whose business is based in Saranac Lake.  He serves as Government Relations Chair for the Adirondack Council, Water Quality Chair for AdkAction.org, and is a board member of the Adirondack Nature Conservancy.
  • Chris Keniston, Tupper Lake. Chris has been an activist for the revival of Tupper Lake and enjoys hiking, biking, snowmobiling and cross country skiing.  He is a Senior Investigator with the New York State Police and is in charge of their gun investigation unit.
  • Jim McCulley, Lake Placid. Jim is President of the Lake Placid Snowmobile Association.  He is a local businessman providing concession equipment and services to local institutions in the Tri-lakes area.
  • Joe Mercurio, Saranac Lake.·Joe is a retired PhD. educator who has been a leader in local issues, notably leading a citizen committee to successfully reform the local (Harrietstown) assessment procedures.
  • Scott Thompson, Beaver River. Scott is the owner/operator of Norridgewock Lodge in Beaver River, a -year-round resort near the southern end of the Old Forge-Lake Placid corridor and a major winter destination for snowmobilers.
  • Maureen Peroza, Tupper Lake. Maureen is a retired school teacher who taught in the Tupper Lake School System for 30 years.  She has been active in many local not-for-profits like the Wild Center (Adirondack Museum of Natural History) and Adirondack Observatory.  An avid outdoor woman, Maureen bikes, runs marathons and enjoys downhill and cross-country skiing.  
  • Jim Rolf, Rome NY.  Jim is Statewide Trails Coordinator at New York State Snowmobile Association.
  • Jack Delehanty, Tupper Lake.  John D. “Jack” Delehanty retired as Franklin County’s chief assistant district attorney. He grew up in Tupper Lake and returned after law school. Before becoming a prosecutor, Delehanty worked for the Adirondack Park Agency from 1977 to 1979.
  • John Brockway, Lake Clear.  John is the owner and operator of Charlie's Inn, a popular way-station on the Tupper Lake-Lake Placid former rail corridor.  John also owns the old Lake Clear depot, a historic stop on the New York Central line where it divided so trains could go north to Malone or east to Saranac Lake.
  • Carl Knoch, advisor.  Carl is a retired executive of the Rails to Trails Conservancy and the author of the seminal 2011 study that documented the financial and environmental benefits of the proposed Adirondack Rail Trail.  He has participated in the development of thousands of miles of rail-trails actoss the country and serves the ARTA board as both a member and as a paid advisor.

Corporate Documents

 

These rails have been unused for forty years.  They pass through the most beautiful parts of the wild Adirondacks.

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