Report says state snowmobile trails bring $586 million from tourists
NORTHFIELD — New Hampshire’s 7,700 miles of snowmobile trails generate about $586 million in related tourism spending, according to a report released Wednesday by the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association.
The study was prepared by Mark J. Okrant, and Daniel S. Lee of the Plymouth State University Institute of Studies and presented to the Executive Council.
Chris Gamache, who heads the state Trails Bureau, noted “this is an industry in the state of New Hampshire that is run by volunteers. It is all funded by user fees by people who love their sport.”
He said the economic impact surpasses that of the ski industry in winter.
Commissioner of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner George Bald noted that the Trails Bureau is a wonderful partnership that helps tourism.
“New Hampshire is regarded nationwide as having one of the best trail systems,” he said.
He noted that there are actually twice as many trails in the state highway miles.
“We have 3,500 miles of highway, so we have double what DOT has,” he said looking towards Commissioner of the Department of Transportation Chris Clement during the Executive Council meeting.
“Chris is concerned about snow. We want snow. I have encouraged him to just plow northbound,” he said.
The study indicates snowmobiling has been an important sport here since the 1970s.
Snowmobile clubs maintain the trail system and receive funding through the registration of snowmobiles.
There were 56,645 registered sleds between May 2010 and April 2011.
The study relied upon surveys mailed to a representative sample of license holders. More than 1,000 answered who indicated average spending per day at $79 for in-state and $114 for out of state travel.
The study indicates snowmobiling accounts for 5.2 percent of all traveler spending in the state.
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Paula Tracy may be reached at email@example.com.
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