The area around Berlin will get an economic boost in September as it hosts its first national ATV event at Jericho Mountain State Park.
And one of the draws was the newly created economic development effort called Ride the Wilds, a network of 1,000 miles of ATV trails in the North Country.
It is called Camp RZR (pronounced razor) and it is one of two gatherings held nationally each year by Polaris, which makes off-road vehicles.
Donna Beadle is a spokesperson for Polaris.
“We felt that Jericho really offered off-road people what they want, including Ride the Wilds.”
She said the event is open to all ATV riders and brands. A similar event in Tennessee drew about 11,000 people last year.
In addition to the riding there will be vendors, food, activities for children and entertainment, she said.
The Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce expects at least 8,000 visitors, says Paula Kinney, its executive coordinator. That would be about a third more than its biggest event, the Jericho Mountain ATV Festival.
“The economic impact is going to be huge. Friday when we made the announcement, phones were already ringing,” she said. “Hotels were calling me and asking me what we just put out there. It was so exciting.”
Conrad Klefos is the general manager at the Royalty Inn in Gorham. He’s already filling up.
“I think everybody in town will be full for that weekend.”
Having Camp RZR bring ATV enthusiasts into the North Country will showcase "Ride the Wilds" to the nation, letting them know there is something special here, said Harry Brown, one of the riding network's founders. “It is huge. Things are coming together.”
The event is is September 23, 24th and 25th.