I am about fed up with the near-daily tirade of the 30 or so Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates supporters and board members who beat the same old rhythm on their tired old "Great Adirondack Rail Trail" drum.
It appears to me that the Adirondack Daily Enterprise editorial staff is complicit in the farce and is acting like little more than a mouthpiece for the ARTA mob. It is quite obvious to me that the ARTA folks are just taking turns to meet the Adirondack Daily Enterprise rule of a 30-day wait between opinions. Nice try with the squeaky-wheel plan; we readers are onto you. Now if only the town/village boards could figure that out for themselves ...
I am also pretty fed up with the these same ARTA board members using their opinion pieces as "evidence" of the plethora of constituents for "trail with NO rail." All I can say is, big woof that they have had 11,000 people sign a petition. The northern end of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad has that many, and more, paying passengers each season. The "profits" from these are reinvested into the right-of-way. Where is the money these 11,000 are willing to invest in the Great Adirondack Rail Trail? You can get almost anyone to sign a petition that requires no effort on their part.
I am also waiting for ARTA to actually do something physical toward creating their desired trail. There is absolutely no reason that a trail cannot be installed along the rail. The ARTA board members have stated previously that it would be "too hard" to create a trail next to the rail. What is wrong with doing something that is beneficial and hard? Look at the success of the Adirondack Carousel from their hard work and dedication. What I don't see or hear of ARTA doing is out earning monies or donations to realize their dream of a trail. All I have heard is their desire for the taxpayer to foot the bill for some promised extrapolation of similar trails elsewhere. That seems to me to be quite a bit of risk given the state of the economy.
Additionally, the ARTA mob remains pretty mum about the maintenance and cost of operation of the Great Adirondack Rail Trail. It isn't free. The ASR earns monies for the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society that is then reinvested into the railroad right-of-way and equipment maintenance. They are earning their way toward their organization's goals.
Now it seems that ARTA's big gripe is that the "railroad" applied for federal funding and left the trail advocates out of the proposal. It would be my guess that had the ARTA been working together with the ASR, their desires would have been included. Sour grapes, ARTA; deal with it. If it is a trail that ARTA wants, then go out and earn it, or at least come up with a plan to share the cost of operation with the state. There is more than one solution to a problem, and the ASR has offered to share. ARTA is not willing to share. Let's not be spoiled and bratty about the issue. Quit whining, and get to work. As for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, can we "talk" about other issues?
I am associated with the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. I am a volunteer. I learned new skills. I meet, greet and educate visitors to our area. As a volunteer, I point out various entertainment venues, restaurants and hiking trails. These actions help our community go and grow. I believe that my actions are positive and add to the community. Let's quit the finger pointing, bickering and overall negativity that only serves to detract from our community. ARTA, get positive, and get to work.
James P. Pierson lives in Saranac Lake.
(Editor's note: The "Adirondack Railroad Historical Society" has been corrected to Adirondack Railway Preservation Society.)