To the Editor:
I am a life-long resident of Tupper Lake and read your editorial with interest, about how my community was under siege.
First, I must say that I find it honorable and amazing how North Country communities are always willing to stand up for each other. I also whole heartedly agree with almost everything you had to say about the Adirondack Club and Resort project. This proposed development certainly has the potential to bring residents, tourists and jobs to Tupper Lake and could very likely be one of the largest economic boosts the North Country has seen since the Olympics. The developers of this project have faced fierce attacks from environmental groups for many years, yet have persisted with their goal of building a world-class resort in Tupper Lake that will include the re-opening of Big Tupper Ski Area. The resort has wide-spread community support and will hopefully receive approval from the Adirondack Park Agency in the near future.
I must however, disagree with the second part of your editorial that attacks the Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA) for promoting the creation of a recreation trail connecting the tri-lakes. I believe the creation of a trail such as this, would bring much more economic benefit to Tupper Lake than restoring train service a few days a week for several months out of the year. A world-class recreation trail could be used year-round by locals and tourists alike for hiking, biking, running and skiing. The removal of the tracks would also allow for an extended snowmobile season on an easily groomed trail into Tupper Lake.
I have utilized trails such as this in the past and found them to be an extremely popular tourist attraction. This proposed trail also runs alongside two large state-owned campgrounds that average approximately 180,000 visitors a year. The majority of these campers bring bicycles with them and could potentially take a scenic ride into Tupper Lake for the day because we are only 7 or 8 miles away. I believe that most people visit the Adirondacks for the purpose of hiking, biking, camping and skiing, not to ride a train. I could continue with what I believe to be the benefits of a multi-use, all-season recreation trail, but hopefully you see my point.
The bad side to this argument is that the railroad tracks would have to be torn up to create this trail and a lot of effort has gone into restoring train service to Tupper Lake by the Next Stop! Tupper Lake committee. I have also supported the train in the past, but recognize a good idea when I hear one, and now fully support the creation of a recreation trail connecting the tri-lakes. There are also many more community members who support the creation of a trail in Tupper Lake and no one believes our restored train station would go to waste, as it could be utilized as a welcome center, museum, café or bike rental shop to name few.
The bottom line is that there are no outside groups or environmentalists at work here. The ARTA has proposed building a world class recreation trail in the tri-lakes that has the potential to bring many tourists and outdoor enthusiasts to Tupper Lake to enjoy a peaceful, healthy, backcountry experience. The question is, can the residents of Tupper Lake agree on which option would be better for our community? It’s too bad a recreation trail wasn’t proposed earlier, but I support beginning a new campaign titled “First Stop! Tupper Lake” and utilizing our restored train station as a welcome center to great new visitors as they begin their journey down the Great Adirondack Recreation Trail!