Visitors center at state ATV park named for former Berlin mayor
On Tuesday, the now 7,800-acre Jericho Mountain State Park got a visit from the man who first championed the idea nearly 10 years ago. Former mayor and city councilor of Berlin Robert Danderson came home to be officially thanked for the indispensable role he played in the park's creation with the naming of the building which welcomes guests to the site.
The park boasts more than 70 miles of trails, a campground and picnic pavilions and a warming hut.
Danderson was mayor from 2000 to 2008, later serving on the council under Mayor Paul Grenier. Grenier was a councilor when Danderson was mayor. Bob Danderson's wife, Marti, who was with him on Tuesday, also served on the council.
Grenier recounted that during the worst of the city's economic challenges, Danderson looked around and saw that the city-owned Jericho recreation area was underutilized. Danderson, who was always searching for ways to diversify the paper-and–pulp dependent local economy, brought up the ATV park idea.
Danderson was a key driver in bringing a federal prison to the city, and encouraged the redevelopment of the former pulp mill site into a biomass facility.
State Sen. Jeff Woodburn praised Danderson for his vision and commitment.
Trails Bureau Chief Chris Gamache attested to Danderson's tenacity. "You called me daily, almost hourly," he reminded Danderson.
Grenier said they worked with local legislators to get the visitors center named after Danderson. "Generally you have to be dead," Grenier said, adding that "there was surprisingly little resistance."
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