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Ride the Wilds

North Country's 1,000-mile ATV trail opens

STEWARTSTOWN — The final touches on the long-planned 1,000-mile interconnected all-terrain-vehicle trail through the North Country are now in place, and the Ride the Wilds system is open to riders.

Gov. Maggie Hassan made things official at Coleman State Park when she cut the ribbon last Saturday on the trail, which passes through 15 communities in Coos County.

The effort is the cornerstone of the more than $2 million in combined projects aimed at expanding ATV trails — and new economic opportunities — in the North Country. A main selling point of the effort is that ATV riders can now make long-distance trips to New Hampshire without having to stop, leave the trail and haul their machines over land as riders had been forced to when trails were broken up by impassable stretches.

Completion of the new system follows the opening several years ago of 7,500-acre Jericho Mountain State Park in Berlin, the state's newest, and the only one in New England developed for ATVs and snowmobiles.

The state Legislature this year passed a pair of bills aimed at attracting more off-road vehicle enthusiasts to the state and included allowing larger, two-passenger motorized vehicles to travel state-owned land. Jericho is included in the new layout as is 8,000-acre Perry Stream Land and Timber Co. property in Pittsburg.

Individual components of the overall project include a trail system from Coleman State Park to the North Gate of the Balsams, and from Kelsey Notch, over Dixville Peaks, to Greenough Pond Road. New Hampshire's Bureau of Trails and 15 recreational-vehicle clubs in the northernmost section of the state have been involved in the project.

Harry Brown, president of the North Country Off Highway Recreational Vehicle Coalition, has been at the forefront of the effort, and joined Hassan for the June 15 opening ceremony.

bhookway@newstote.com



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