Upper Hudson Rail Trail

Friends of the Upper Hudson Rail Trail is a group that formed late last year to promote the conversion of the old National Lead rail line in the Adirondacks, into a bike trail.

The trail would follow the line that was used to transport iron from the Tahawas mining operation during World War II. The right-of-way begins in North Creek and makes its way along the Hudson and Boreas River valleys, until it reaches the old mine in the southern High Peaks.

My love affair with Adirondacks started in the 1970s when I began cycle touring the mountains. I loved the views and the water everywhere. But I soon tired of the sections of road without shoulders, and the interaction with traffic in some of the busier parts of the park. This bike trail could provide a 29-mile stretch of beautiful, peaceful Adirondack bike riding.

This project might not be easy to accomplish. There is a legal provision that was enacted when the right-of-way was originally established that dictates that when the rails are removed, the land reverts to the original owners. It would seem unfair after all these years to simply overrule that provision. On the other hand, the rail line has been in place a long time and the affected property owners might be willing to let it happen.

Whenever there are new land use proposals in the Adirondacks, things can get contentious. I’d like to understand the hurdles this project faces. How are affected landowners reacting to this idea? What other objections are being raised? Share what you know. Post a comment below.

For more information on the project visit www.UpperHudson.org and follow the efforts of the FUHRT on their Facebook Page.

2 comments on “Upper Hudson Rail Trail

  1. This is Curt Austin of the Friends of the Upper Hudson Rail Trail. It’s great to be mentioned on NYSkiBlog! This trail will give skiers a reason to come up during the summer and keep their legs limber.

    We’ll have a relatively easy time getting this trail established. The reversion issue that Harv mentions is not a special provision of this right of way – it’s just what often happens on abandoned rail lines. A Federal Law allows the owner of a railroad ROW to use it for a trail, preserving the corridor for potential reuse for rail transportation.

    Otherwise, few will object to this project and we’ll do all we can to make those few happy. It’s a fantastic opportunity – we’re lucky the corridor is intact after all these years. The only serious contention may be over the portion of the ROW on state land. State officials appear to be unsure about how to deal with this unusual situation. We believe they’ll be cooperative if they know how many people will enjoy this wonderful ride. We can invoke the same Federal law to force the issue, but we ought to be able to work something out.

    For this and other reasons, your visible support will be valuable. Visit upperhudson.org, become a member and become a Facebook fan.

    I’ll be happy to answer your questions here.

  2. This sounds like it could be a really great rail trail. The FUHRT website is very well done, and anyone with an interest in this project should check it out to see what is possible.

    A couple of questions: with the very limited access points to the trail, there will be essentially no support services available to users between North River and Tahawus. No place to buy food, supplies, not even drinking water. Additionally, with no possibility for inn-to-inn biking or even restaurants along the route, it would seem that the economic impact of the project would be limited to North Creek. Has FUHRT taken those issues into consideration and does FUHRT see those as a problem? Are there any comparable rail trails in terms of wilderness route and limited accessibility?

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