We Are NYEnvironmental Bond Act Funding to Support Ongoing Construction of World-Class Recreational Trail in Heart of the Adirondacks 

 Restoration of Adjacent Historic Saranac Lake Depot to Bolster North Country Economy 

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $13.1 million to support the ongoing construction of the Adirondack Rail Trail, a 34-mile, multi-use recreational corridor for outdoor adventurers between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, and the restoration of the Saranac Lake Depot. Funding from the 2022 Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act will aid the ongoing transformation of a former railbed into a world-class shared-use path and the former depot for use as a regional education, interpretation, and economic asset. When complete, the trail will be open all year, free of charge, for hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers, and snowmobile enthusiasts. 

“The Adirondack Rail Trail is bolstering tourism and connecting New Yorkers to the outdoors to enjoy the unparalleled beauty of the Adirondack Park,” Governor Hochul said. “As construction continues, this new $13.1 million investment is instrumental in fulfilling the Environmental Bond Act’s commitment to improving recreational infrastructure, contributing to local economies, and enhancing public access to the outdoors for residents and visitors alike.” 

 In December 2023, Governor Hochul announced completion of the first of three construction phases that connected the Lake Placid to Saranac Lake corridor of the trail. Upon completion of all three phases of construction, the Adirondack Rail Trail will connect the communities of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and Tupper Lake. Interpretive signage will help visitors learn about the history of the railway, cultures of adjacent communities, and surrounding lands and waters. The trail is currently open for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and other outdoor winter recreation. 

As part of the Rail Trail project, DEC is preserving the historic Saranac Lake Depot and the associated Freight Building, which are contributing features of the New York Central Railroad, Adirondack Division Historic District, and listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places. It is an integral part of the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor and an integral part of the village of Saranac Lake that will serve as the key interface between the State-owned Rail Trail and the village. In October, DEC solicited ideas and plans for the depot’s use and public access through structure improvements, opportunities for historic interpretation, facilitation of a welcoming outdoor experience for the public, and activities or operations that complement the Adirondack Rail Trail. DEC is reviewing submissions before issuing a formal Request for Proposals. 

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, marking the formal completion of the rail removal phase and the start of the formal trail design and construction phase with the State Office of General Services. 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.  

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The Adirondack Rail Trail provides visitors with the opportunity to enjoy the unique charm and amenities of North Country communities while providing access to miles of breathtaking trails, numerous campsites, and abundant waterways in the Forest Preserve lands adjacent to the corridor. I am thankful to Governor Hochul for this investment for the trail and the historic Saranac Lake Depot, which help to ensure visitors today and in future can access and enjoy these special Adirondack places.” 

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “The Adirondack Rail Trail is a scenic treasure that embodies the best of New York’s North Country. The State Department of Transportation is enormously proud of the role we played in laying the foundation for this one-of-a-kind, multi-use trail experience and today’s announcement by Governor Hochul is tremendous news for outdoor enthusiasts from across the globe.”

The Adirondack Rail Trail 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. Most of the trail surface will consist of compacted crushed stone. The trail will be paved within the village of Saranac Lake and on small sections of trail over bridges. 

The voter-approved $4.2-billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act is helping to support these and many other initiatives, including leveraging funding for water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure. The Bond Act is advancing historic levels of funding to update aging water infrastructure and protect water quality, strengthen communities' ability to withstand severe storms and flooding, reduce air pollution and lower climate-altering emissions, restore habitats, and preserve outdoor spaces and local farms. For more information about the Bond Act, go to www.ny.gov/BondAct.  

Today’s announcement complements Governor Hochul’s ongoing investments in the Adirondack Park. Earlier this month, the Governor announced $1.8 million in grants to support 27 not-for-profit organizations involved with stewardship of State parks, trails, historic sites and other public lands. Among the grantees was the Adirondack Rail Trail Association, who was awarded $75,400 to fund a comprehensive capacity-building initiative including the development of a multi-year strategic plan, revenue-generating activities, a volunteer program, and a marketing campaign plan.