To the editor:
Some points to consider with regard to the rail/trail debate:
If the railroad remains, when will the state/taxpayers break even and/or make a profit?
If the trail prevails, will the municipalities/state/trail organizations purchase, pave and maintain (including snowplow) what are now private roads so there will be access to the trail?
Will private landowners along the proposed trail be protected from trespassers? What will be the protocol for such protection?
How will the issue of beaver dams that regularly overflow their banks be addressed? In the past, these dams have destroyed private property, driveways and have deposited beaver waste and detritus into pond/lake waters.
If the trail proponents prevail, will they pay for, install and maintain fencing that will prohibit trail users from trespassing on private property? Will they hold harmless and indemnify private property owners from any liability, gross or otherwise, with regard to trail users who are injured while trespassing on private property?
Will the trail advocates post a bond and secure liability insurance (suggested coverage: $15 million per occurrence, per year with an aggregate of $100 million per year with each private property owner listed as an additional insured) protecting private property owners from damaged caused by trespassing trail users? This coverage should protect private property owners from damage to their property as well as any damage to third parties invited onto the private property.
Will the trail advocates pay all upkeep costs associated with fencing, signage, etc.?
Are there eminent domain issues? Municipalities and the state can take your property due to some private property owners allowing public access to trail users.
How can millions of dollars spent on the railroad or trail be justified when schools are closing and class sizes rising - and the state Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Conservation staff are being downsized?
At this point in the debate, each side has destroyed validity of the other side. No matter what the final decision, there will always be animosity and denigrating of each side.
Kent and Diane Macafee