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D.C. rail trail is popular

September 17, 2012
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

To the editor:

In July of this summer, I visited my family in Washington, D.C. The temperatures during the day were in the 90s, so many people decided to exercise very early in the morning. I was surprised to see hundreds of people out enjoying themselves before 9 a.m. on the former Washington & Old Dominion railroad corridor. They were biking, walking and running on a trail that stretches 45 miles from the Potomac River, near Washington, to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The W&OD Trail takes its name from the railroad whose trains ran along the right of way from 1859 to 1968. The demise of the railroad was hastened by the improved road system and increased number of motor vehicles. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Our Remsen-Lake Placid line through the Adirondacks began operating in 1892 and ended service in 1972 for the same reasons. The demand for freight and passenger service had disappeared, yet the railroad bed has been sitting mostly idle ever since! This is one of our greatest resources, yet we are failing to take full advantage of it.

Scenery along the W&OD trail is like that from a train window, but the viewing is better when you are physically using the trail, as I was. When you are jogging or biking or just strolling, you are not only a spectator but a participant as well. You are outdoors enjoying the beautiful surroundings, smelling the forest, feeling the cold air, being an active participant rather than sitting in a train looking out the window.

The proposed Adirondack Rail Trail would connect Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, and run from there all the way to Old Forge. It would be the best thing that could happen to the Adirondacks - for tourists and locals alike. This historic rail bed could easily and inexpensively be converted into a recreation trail that would be second to none in the United States. Let's get on board!

Carmen Ordonez

Saranac Lake



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