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New North Country ATV trail finished; fight vowed for federal help

COLEBROOK — Another section of North Country all-terrain-vehicle trails has been completed as one of the state's U.S. senators says she'll oppose a move that could divert money from ATV uses in the Granite State.

Harry Brown, president of the North Country Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle Coalition, delivered the double dose of good news this week to ATV club members throughout Coos County.

He said the Kilkenny Trail Riders of Lancaster and Groveton have just opened their trail system connecting them to North Country ATV Trails in Groveton, Stratford and Columbia.

Brown also sounded a note of caution to riders, at least temporarily.

"This does not mean that you can ride from Lancaster, Groveton, Stratford or Columbia and access the rest of the Ride the Wilds System, as there still is a link to build in Columbia. Hopefully, this link will be completed later this year. Keep tuned," he said in an e-mail message.

Ride the Wilds, a 300- to 400-mile section of what will eventually be some 1,000 miles of ATV trails through New Hampshire's northernmost county, opened in mid-June.

State administrators, including the New Hampshire Bureau of Trails, have pushed for a fully-linked trail system to open the North Country to more ATV riders and the economic boost they bring.

On a related political front, Rand Paul, the Republican junior senator from Kentucky, drew the ire of New Hampshire riders with his recent amendment to the proposed fiscal year 2014 $44 billion Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriation package. Rand's bill would eliminate federal funding for uses such as the North Country trails effort, and devote that money to bridge repair and replacement.

Chuck Henderson, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's special assistant for policy and projects, has said the Democrat would oppose Paul's amendment.

Brown said his group has yet to get a response from Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte on the matter.


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