CONCORD — Late snowstorms and a wet spring will delay the traditional opening for off-highway recreational vehicle trails in northern Coos County until after the Memorial Day weekend, according to Fish and Game officials.
Trails Bureau Chief Chris Gamache said the agency was well aware this news would be a setback for tourism-based businesses that already had holiday weekend bookings from visitors looking forward to hitting the OHRV trails.
But Gamache said opening these trails before they have fully dried risks doing permanent damage to them.
“We do not take this decision lightly and we all fully understand the impact not having these trails open for the upcoming holiday weekend, which is the traditional start of the summer season, will have on local businesses,” Chief Gamache said in a statement. “We have spoken with the local clubs and landowners around northern NH and there is still too much snow on the ground in many northern areas and many of the other trails are still too wet to operate on.”
The only Coos County OHRV trails that will open before the holiday weekend are the Gorham to Jericho/Berlin to Milan trail network, according to officials.
No trails west or north of Milan in the state will open prior to Memorial Day weekend, Gamache said.
More trails will open for the 2019 riding season on or about June 1, he added.
There are areas where spring rains have already caused trail damage and those areas will not be open until later in June, he said.
The announcement on social media at week’s end was greeted with disappointment but understanding from most who responded to it online.
Paul Chepulis of Derry said it’s too bad OHRV owners have to pay registration fees for the entire year but only get to ride less than that.
“Is the state going to discount registration this year?” Chepulis posted. “Little insane my regi paid for 12 months but only allowed to ride 8 months or less for the year.”
Justin LaPointe of Milan responded, “We don’t get a break on snow machine registrations whether it snows or not.”
Several residents pointed out OHRV trails “south of the notches” will be open for the holiday weekend.
Organizers of the Ammonoosuc Valley ATV Club posted, “So it looks like the North Country trail opening is going to be delayed this year, however, our rail trail never closes and Augies Scenic Road Trail WILL be opening on the 23rd of May. Parking will reopen in North Haverhill Augies. The 2 loops in Lisbon may not be open on time due to people riding them and destroying them before the season even started.”