From railroad tracks to a controversial mountainside resort, more and more people outside Tupper Lake are claiming to know what’s best for this community.
It’s only 22 miles from Tupper Lake to Saranac Lake, but it might as well be 2,200 miles from the opposite direction. Average Saranac Lake and Lake Placid residents don’t usually visit unless they’re driving through. That’s why it’s so surprising outside groups are now interested in Tupper Lake.
But are these people joining the proactive, grassroots movements to reopen the ski center, rebuild the train station, and bring tourists and businesses to the Tip Top Town? Are they trying to help the community?
The answer is no. They’re motivated by their own interests. Instead of assisting a community that needs economic help, they’re swooping in with their own agendas and trying to take over.
At a time when Next Stop! Tupper Lake is working to restore the railroad tracks to Saranac Lake — extending the Adirondack Scenic Railroad’s Saranac Lake-Lake Placid excursion and bringing more tourists to town — members of the new Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA), based in Saranac Lake, are lobbying the state to tear up those tracks so they can build a recreational path.
At a time when ARISE (Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving Their Economy) is working to support the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort project on Mount Morris, environmental groups like the Adirondack Council, based in Elizabethtown, and Protect the Adirondacks, based in Schenectady, are trying to minimize the development, in essence destroying an ambitious proposal to bring tourists and jobs to Tupper Lake.
On the surface, this feels like another case of outsiders trying to protect the Adirondacks from the Adirondackers; however, the anti-railroad and anti-ACR efforts have a new twist. Key players in these groups are Adirondack residents, and many have comfortable jobs or retirement plans. Some are even supporting both ARTA and the Adirondack Council, which shows they don’t really have Tupper Lake’s best interest in mind. It sounds like these groups are trying to protect Tupper Lake from the Tupper Lakers.
While there’s heavy interest outside the Blue Line in these two cases, they are simply the latest clashes in an undeclared, parkwide civil war — a fight between the haves and the have-nots, the environmentalists versus the property rights supporters. It’s a fight to determine what’s best for the Adirondack Park, and those beliefs don’t always jive with what’s best for Adirondack residents.
Today, Tupper Lake is a community under siege, and while that sounds corny from the outside, it’s all too real for the residents inside fighting for survival. For those who have faced adversity or been the underdog, this is your story.
With its industrial heritage, Tupper Lake is a blue collar town at heart, filled with friendly, honest and hard-working people. They have a history of reinventing their economy no matter the challenge. When the softwoods ran out, they turned to hardwoods. They attracted a federal hospital. When the feds moved out, they attracted the state to run Sunmount for the developmentally disabled.
But times have been tough lately. The wood products industry has faded away. OWD is gone, along with Ames, Hackett’s, A&P and a number of small businesses.
We shouldn’t dictate how anyone else should live. Let’s support ARISE and Next Stop! Tupper Lake. Let’s get the Adirondack Scenic Railroad to the Junction depot within three years. Let’s get the Adirondack Club and Resort up and running. Let’s get the Tupper Lake economy back in tip-top shape.
Learn more at www.tupper-lake.com.
Now, more than ever, Tupper Lakers need your help, and they have much to offer. They know where they’re going and how to get there.
Members of ARTA, the Adirondack Council, Protect the Adirondacks and all those manning the roadblocks to Tupper Lake’s future, if you’re not going to help, please get out of the way.