Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest

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A Legal Case Against Storing Tank Cars In Adirondacks

"The federal government established the thirty-mile rail line during World War II to ship titanium ore from a mine in Tahawus. The corridor crossed thirteen miles of Forest Preserve as well as private land. Using its power of eminent domain, the government acquired an easement set to expire in 1962. The corridor then was supposed to revert to its original owners, including New York State. Instead, the General Services Administration used eminent domain to extend the easement for another hundred years, until 2062."

"In 1989, GSA sold the easement to NL Industries, the owner of the mine. Several years ago, NL sold it to Iowa Pacific. Woodworth said the easement specifies that if the line ceases to be operated as a railroad, the corridor must be returned to its original owners."

"When Iowa Pacific acquired the line, it hoped to transport waste rock from the mine, but so far the company has been unable to find customers. If it clogs the line with empty cars, Woodworth said, it will be impossible to use it for transportation. In essence, he contends, the line will cease to be a railroad—in violation of the easement."

"In fact, the corridor has not been an active railroad for many years. Woodworth said he’d like the state to initiate condemnation proceedings to reclaim its Forest Preserve lands. If the tracks were removed, he said, the corridor could be converted into a recreational trail."

“It could become one of the premier rail trails in the Northeast because of the beauty of the area,” he said."