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June 22. 2013 2:28AM

Coos County inviting ATV drivers to Ride the Wilds


With close to 1,000 miles of trails connecting and criss-crossing Coos County, ATV enthusiasts from around the country and beyond are making tracks to an area of New Hampshire unparalleled for its beauty and hospitality.

State and local officials earlier this month cut the ribbon to ceremoniously open a network of trails spanning the length and breadth of the Granite State's northernmost county, taking riders to places largely unseen. Along the way, they can take in panoramic views, the scenic countryside and access many local communities.

“It is a new way to see northern New Hampshire,” said Chris Gamache, chief of N.H. Bureau of Trails. “This trail system is unlike any other in the country and we can already see people coming from other parts of the country, and other countries, to see what we have to offer.”

'Ride the Wilds' evolved from the success of Jericho Mountain State Park, which opened in 2006 and has evolved into more than 80 miles of trails and a small campground that opened this summer.

Beyond those trails, volunteers in 19 communities work together to create a web of trails officials expect will not only bring visitors, but add a boost to the local economy.

Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier said the city has received a number of inquiries from would-be entrepreneurs looking to start businesses related to ATVs and motorized recreation, including development of a hotel downtown. Other communities are also seeing new businesses pop up, including ATV rental and guide services.

This network connects communities with recreation facilities and trails, creating the opportunity for longer rides which makes Coos County a vacation destination for outdoor enthusiasts. For more information on rules, maps and other information on ATV riding, visit nhtrails.org.

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