Departments of Transportation and Environmental Conservation announce joint decision on rails/trails

For immediate release

LAKE PLACID — New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Marnines and Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan Burgerking jointly announced a long-awaited major decision regarding rails and trails in the Adirondack Park. 

Starting this spring, the DEC and DOT will partner together on a plan to install train tracks on popular Adirondack hiking trails. 

“We recognize that more than two-thirds of Americans aged 20 or older are overweight or obese, and that number is only growing. The number of elderly people who aren’t capable of hiking is growing as well,” Commissioner Marnines said at a press conference at the Conference Center at Lake Placid. “Our best hope to make people realize how important it is to conserve our forests is to get people out experiencing nature, and the best way to do that is to make it easier for more people. We’ve been brainstorming about how to do that for years, and finally it hit us: trains!” 

“Yay trains!” Commissioner Burgerking said. 

The plan will first focus on the High Peaks Region, where train tracks will be installed so trains can cart obese, out-of-shape, and/or lazy New Yorkers and visitors to the top of the 46 highest peaks in the Adirondack Park. DEC is working closely with the Adirondack 46ers, a group that certifies hikers who climb all 46 mountains, to create a separate patch and certification system for those who conquer all the peaks by train. 

“We are very excited to initiate this new program,” 46er President Sally Soy begrudgingly said after Commissioner Marnines pushed her to the podium. “It is in no way directly contradictory to the mission of the 46ers.” 

Once the 46 High Peaks are all equipped with railroads, the DEC and DOT next plan to install them on the Saranac Lake 6, a popular new grouping of mountains for less advanced hikers. Saranac Lake village Mayor Clyde Rabidont already had a train incorporated into the 6er patch the village gives out when someone hikes all 6 peaks. 

After that, train tracks will be built on the remaining smaller mountains throughout the Adirondacks with hiking trails on them. And, depending on how inactive the general public gets in the future, they might even be installed on flat trails throughout the region, like the Peninsula Nature Trails, the Bloomingdale Bog Trail, and the Whiteface Landing Trail

“Eventually, we might even put a train around the Mirror Lake Loop,” Commissioner Burgerking said. “We know you can drive around it now in a car, but everyone is a passenger on a train so everyone can view the flora and fauna around the lake, or something.” 

The new trains will perform another function as well: They will help maintain the mountains much better by preventing trail erosion, litter, and other issues that occur when too many hikers trudge up and down trails. The DEC still expects some hikers to climb alongside the train tracks, but they expect those numbers to decrease sharply once trains become an option, and to continue decreasing as more and more of the population becomes obese and lazy.

“We see it as planning for the future,” Commissioner Marnines said. 

The two departments will issue two separate joint request for proposals; the first will be to install the tracks, and the second will seek a company to operate trains on them. Between the DEC and the DOT, they have budgeted $1,000 for the whole operation, but they anticipate the actual cost to come in much lower than that. They expect Phase 1, the High Peaks phase, to be completed by August 2015 or sooner.

The DEC and DOT hope volunteer groups will organize to maintain the tracks and trains, as many hiking trails are now often maintained. 

As for the controversial Remsen-Lake Placid corridor, along sections of which the Adirondack Scenic Railroad currently operates to the ire of passionate local activists who want to see the whole corridor converted to a trail, the Commissioners said they haven’t yet been able to reach a decision. 

“We were thinking about just flooding the whole corridor and turning it into a waterway. How do you think that would poll?” Commissioner Marnines said. 

For information on the area’s amazing hiking trails, which actually won’t be getting any train tracks, visit

Attached image: A computer rendering of the envisioned trail rails.  

In related ADK Park News:
Senate Approves Drone Hunting in Park Region
Wilmington Notch to Install Tolls
$325,000 Tree Tracking Grant Awarded to Hamilton County
Forts Reactivated: NY Tourism to Declare Civil War on Vermont
Visible Blue Line Proposed to Outline Park Boundaries
Saranac Lake Attempts Summer Ice Palace

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Robert Moses meets the High Peaks. Happy April 1!

Trains on the 46??

Is this a joke??? why would we ever ruin the wildlife with trains??????? If people are too lazy and obese to see the high peaks then maybe they should go on a diet... i climbed all 46 high peaks and would be extremely disappointed if this is first real and if it becomes a reality.

OMG! I was fit to be tied!

Thank god this was only an April Fool's joke! I was ready to hike up from Delaware to protest! You got me BIG time!!! Have a great day!


Haha this was good guys after I wrote my comment and scrolled down to see it was a joke I laughed!!! I should have read the whole thing first.... I just got irritated after climbing all that hard work and the reward of climbing and seeing lazy folk cheating. Haha good one

Trains in the High Peaks

Here, here. I agree with 46 high peaker. Hiking is an experience! A train ride for the obese is like watching a movie with a bumpy ride, Wait the have those at Six Flags! Are we turning our natural park into a theme park?

It took my addled brain

It took my addled brain awhile to catch on but, phew!, this is April 1st :)

Trans in the adirondacks

I can't see why we want to get rid of the trains. I grew up in Utica area and traveled back and forth by the train as did my cjhildren when they were older. The ride was so beautiful. Why anyone in their right mind would put snow mobil trails in replacement should have their head read.. Let the obese people run along beside the train!!!!! NO APRIL FOOLS JOKE!!!!

Trains on the 46

Come on, DEC, How much do we spend on rescues? I think we really need escalators on all the HIgh Peaks. Maybe Internet Cafes on some summits.

train around Mirror Lake

No way - The train would have to go up Main Street to get to Mirror Lake. Cannot see putting train tracks up Mill Hill.


BEST APRIL FOOLS JOKE EVER! you REALLY had me for a few seconds!


Yes! While we're at it, I think we should make some bridges from the top of Whiteface Memorial Highway to other summits! The views would be incredible!

trails to rails

But it would have been credible if you put the budget at a couple million, instead of (guffaw) a thousand!


You almost got me! But when you started about the 46ers, I realized it was April 1!

this maybe an april fools

this maybe an april fools joke,but its degrading to people with disabilitys and people who have a weight problem.this is not funny or a joke,as far as implying that new yorkers are lazy,that is a bunch of crap.i have lived in ny all my life and before i became disabled,i was walking 20 miles a day,and i stil walk as much as i am able to,so whoever posted this can go to hell

"Conserving forests" by installing rails for trains?

This is an absolutely ridiculous idea when efforts are directed to "conserve our forests" by constructing rails for trains to transport people up the mountains. More construction projects does NOT conserve forests. And if you would ENCOURAGE the obese people to actually HIKE the trail, maybe they would benefit from some exercise and burn some calories. "Yay Trains"? That sounds like an industrialist, not an environmental conservationist.

Trail and rail

I knew it was an April Fools joke when I read the misspelling of the Saranac Lake Village Mayors last name, and a few other really crazy ideas that if you were to take time to really read it you would know it HAD to be a joke...Really now who in their right mind would put a train to go to the summit of the 46 high peaks and so on....??? Such a crazy idea if your mind was right you would KNOW it was only a joke.... Happy April Fools day to all!!!

April Fools

That had me going for awhile, Imagine a railroad going up to the top of Mt. Marcy.

Real Joke

The real joke is the thought of replacing the railroad between Remsen and Lake Placid with a trail!


How about adding zip lines from peak to peak?

zip lines

Every time I summit a high peak I do wish for that zip line back down...

yeah nevermind the toxic

yeah nevermind the toxic chemicals leaking from that train and the rail itself being a contamination factor on all the rivers and ponds it traverses through. or not to mention how unsafe that track is! you can pull out the RR spikes with your bare hands!

Trains to the peaks

Being a rail fan I would encourage scenic train lines anywhere in the Adirondacks. Having trains as an option would only increase more visits to the area. The mountain train already exists in New
Hampshire at Mt. Washington Cog Railway. Why should they get all the visitors not up to hiking trails to see the views. I realize this was an April fools day joke but rail access properly done does not take away anything from destroying the forest. It is less intrusive than roads or off road vehicles running through the area.

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