On February 12th, 2016 the APA voted almost unanimously to support the proposed rail-trail between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake and the possible extension of rail service north from Big Moose to Tupper Lake. The next step, was the May 17, 2016 formal announcement of the Governor's approval of the plan. In September 2016 the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) invited members of the affected communities along the 34-mile section of the trail between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake to join a "Stakeholders Group" that is advising DEC on trail surface, access points, safety, trail maintenance, and related topics. Meetings are being held every 2-3 weeks and will continue until a more permanent public/private steering committee or organization is chartered with trail coordination. A preliminary report from engineers was developed in April, 2017.
After the UMP revisioon was approved the Adirondack Scenic Railroad announced that it would file suit to block the construction of the rail-trail. The suit was heard by Judge Robert Main. In October 2017 he ruled for the plaintiffs, on three bases: the historic remediation had been approved by the Department of Parks after the UMP was issued, the title to three properties along the corridor had been cleared after the UMP was issued, and (most important) the definition of "travel corridor" in the State Land Use Master Plan did not, he opined, permit recreational uses. At this time the State is considering its options, which include; (i) asking the judge to reconsider based on additional factual information, including demonstration that the State has been using a broader interpretation of "travel corridor" since at least 1996, (ii) appealing the ruling based on the seemingly circular reasoning that the APA could not interpret its own rules, or (iii) asking the APA to clarify the definition of trael corridor and then ask DEC and DOT to re-start the UMP revision process. For current information on the status of this suit please visit our Hot News page.
Assuming the judge's ruling is either revised or overturned or the UMP revision process is re-started, removal of the rails will follow swiftly. Proposal Requests for project work have already been drafted for rail removal and trail construction.