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Governor Hochul Announces Start of Construction on First Segment of Adirondack Rail Trail

Nov 8, 2022

World-Class Recreation Opportunity in the Heart of the Adirondacks

Department of Environmental Conservation and Office of General Services Select Contractor, Equipment Mobilization Underway for First of Three Construction Phases

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the start of construction for the Adirondack Rail Trail, a 34-mile multi-use recreational path for outdoor adventurers between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid. The first of three construction phases will convert the former railbed along the Lake Placid to Saranac Lake segment of the corridor into a world-class shared-use path for hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers, and snowmobile enthusiasts.

"New York is home to some of the nation's most scenic regions with spectacular landscapes and incredible recreational opportunities," Governor Hochul said. "The Adirondack Rail Trail will be a premier attraction in one of our most picturesque regions, and will allow residents and visitors to experience the Adirondacks with ease, while also connecting them to countless local economies and communities."

Once complete, the Adirondack Rail Trail will connect the communities of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and Tupper Lake. The route will allow users to enjoy the unique charm and amenities of each community while providing access to miles of breathtaking trails, numerous campsites, and abundant waterways in the Forest Preserve lands adjacent to the travel corridor. Interpretive signage will help visitors learn about the history of the railway, cultures of adjacent communities, and surrounding lands and waters. The trail is expected to be completed in 2025.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Office of General Services (OGS) recently awarded Kubricky Construction Corp. of Wilton, Saratoga County, the $7.9 million contract for the first phase of construction. The contract is funded by NY Works, with an additional $225,000 supported by the Environmental Protection Fund for construction oversight and inspections.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The Adirondack Rail Trail will be a premier destination to connect New Yorkers to nature and attract more residents and visitors to the many recreational opportunities in this region. The start of construction is an exciting milestone in the Rail trail implementation and we look forward to the ongoing state, federal, Indigenous Nation, and local partnerships that will make this project a reality."

Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy said, "Under Governor Hochul's leadership, OGS has successfully collaborated with our State and local partners on initiatives that support local tourism and enhance the visitor experience in New York State. The Adirondack Rail Trail will expand outdoor recreational opportunities in one of the most scenic regions of the State, and the OGS team is excited to see the start of construction on this incredible project."

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "The Adirondack Rail Trail will offer visitors a panoramic ride on the rails and hikers and bicyclists an unmatched journey through some of the most stunning landscapes in New York. The Department of Transportation is proud to be playing an important role in repurposing this former railroad line into a must-see and must-use recreational destination that will make it easier for New Yorkers and visitors to our state to explore the beauty of the Adirondacks."

The project is part of DEC's strategic investments through the Adventure NY initiative to enhance public access to State lands and facilities and connect people with nature and the outdoors. The trail is designed to be accessible by people of all abilities to the maximum extent practicable. The majority of the trail surface will consist of compacted crushed stone. The trail will be paved in select areas within the village of Saranac Lake and on small sections of trail over bridges.

Work to transform the trail started in October 2020 when the State Department of Transportation (DOT) worked to remove rail infrastructure from the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment of the corridor. In March 2022, DEC and DOT announced the transfer of jurisdiction to DEC. The transfer marked the formal completion of the rail removal phase and begins the start of the formal trail design and construction phase. With the transfer of jurisdiction, DEC assumed management of public safety and recreational activities, as well as maintenance, along this segment of the corridor.

This phase of construction will start at Station Street in Lake Placid, just west of the Lake Placid Depot, and end just past the Saranac Lake Depot near the intersection of Cedar Street and Route 86. This phase also includes construction of a parking area in Tupper Lake and is anticipated to continue through next year.

To protect public safety, access to the Lake Placid to Saranac Lake segment of the corridor has been restricted during active construction. The public will be allowed in the corridor during the winter shutdown period beginning Dec. 19. Construction will recommence in the spring. The Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake trail segments will remain open to interim recreation throughout the first phase of construction. Access in the vicinity of the Tupper Lake terminus will be restricted during parking lot construction.

OGS will continue to oversee trail design and construction throughout all three phases. Upon completion of construction, DEC will assume day-to-day management of the trail, working closely with stakeholders and municipalities. DEC currently manages public safety and interim recreational activities, as well as general maintenance, along the Lake Placid to Tupper Lake segment of the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor.

State Senator Dan Stec said, "Our region is known for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. The rail trail will only further this reputation, and will be a great asset for residents and visitors alike when completed."

Assemblymember Matthew Simpson said, "I am excited to see this world-class amenity come to fruition not only for residents of the Adirondack Park and the North Country but also for the countless visitors from all over who are bound to experience it. The beauty of the Adirondack Park is something to be marveled and experienced first hand. The Rail Trail will provide an opportunity for countless new adventure seekers whom otherwise may not have the chance."

Up-to-date information on corridor conditions, phases of construction, guidance on interim recreation, and a public use map are available on DEC's Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor webpage. Additional details about the 2020 Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan Amendment/Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement are also available on DEC's website.