Supporters say 1,000 miles of interconnected OHRV trails is North Country's new economic 'factory'
By JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent | June 09. 2014 9:39PM
Harry Brown is president of the North Country OHRV Coalition, which helped bring together the many groups that formed Ride the Wilds, a 1,000-plus mile interconnected system of off-highway recreational vehicle trails from Lancaster and Gorham to Pittsburg in Coos County. (JOHN KOZIOL/Union Leader Correspondent)
“This is our new factory in Coos County,” Brown said.
There are five “portals” where riders can enter. With OHRVs capable of accommodating up to six people, families are a common sight on the trails, Brown said. The experience is decidedly more social than snowmobiling, he said, an observation shared by rider Matt Theriault of Ossipee.
Brad Bollard came up from Glastonbury, Conn., to Ride the Wilds on Saturday, bringing with him friend Barry Vytal and his son, Matthew, as well as Tim Mather of Marlboro, Conn.
Barry Vytal said he hoped that “they open even more trails.”
Brown said that is in the works, with Ride the Wilds looking to improve its east-west connectivity. Currently, he said, the towns of Pittsburg, Stewartstown, Clarksville, Columbia, Stratford, Colebrook, Northumberland, Lancaster, Dixville, Dix’s Grant, Millsfield, Errol, Cambridge, Success, Milan, Dummer, Gorham and the city of Berlin have adopted regulations that allow OHRVs on some or all portions of their municipal roads.
Corrine Rober and her husband, Steve Baillargeon, own and operate Bear Rock Adventures in Colebrook, which rents OHRVs for up to six riders. She said Ride the Wilds has generated customers for her one-year-old business.
Dennis and Korene French, the owners of 45th Parallel Cabins in Stewartstown, said their business, too, has taken off thanks to Ride the Wilds.
The Frenches said their business grew 2,000 percent between 2011 and 2012; it went up another 90 percent between 2012 and 2013.
“I couldn’t say enough good things about (Ride the Wilds),” said French. “I wouldn’t have added a third cabin without it,” nor would he and his wife be thinking of adding two more cabins next year.