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March 18. 2013 9:34PM

A thousand miles of ATV trails to be linked this summer


An interconnected network of ATV trails like this one is expected to become a reality throughout New Hamphire's North Country this summer. (COURTESY)

STEWARTSTOWN - The effort that has combined multiple portions of all-terrain-vehicle trail-building throughout the North Country is expected to culminate this summer with the final touches that will complete the long-planned 1,000-mile interconnected trail network.

In fact, Harry Brown, president of the North Country Off Highway Recreational Vehicle Coalition, said his group has set June 15 as the official opening date in Coleman State Park in Stewartstown, a major hub in the network.

New Hampshire's Bureau of Trails and 15 recreational-vehicle clubs in the northernmost section of the state have been part of the effort.

Increased commerce is a big part of the goal of providing an ATV system that will allow long-distance riders to avoid having to get off the trail and haul their machines by trailer before rejoining the trail.

With the expected increase in riders traveling through northern New Hampshire, Brown said the new network should give a shot in the arm to existing small businesses such as restaurants, motels, gift shops, and small-engine repair services, and encourage new business start-ups.

Coalition members believe joining the trails will help bring riders from across the Northeast to 7,500-acre Jericho Mountain State Park in Berlin, as well as to county commerce centers such as downtown Colebrook, where Route 26 leads to eastern points such as Coleman State Park, The Balsams area and Errol.

The trails bureau has been providing funds for portions of the effort, such as last year's $63,000 grant that built interconnecting all-terrain-vehicle trails through the Great North Woods connecting Gorham, Pittsburg and Colebrook. That money resulted specifically in the portion that runs from Coleman State Park to the North Gate of the Balsams, and from Kelsey Notch, over Dixville Peaks to Greenough Pond Road.

The total cost of that effort was estimated at some $86,000.

bhookway@newstote.com


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