North Country
6:00 am
Sun June 16, 2013

Ride The Wilds: Citizen-Powered Economic Development

Governor Hassan and Harry Brown, a Stewartstown resident and major force between the Ride The Wilds economic development. Hassan drove an ATV to the lookout.
Governor Hassan and Harry Brown, a Stewartstown resident and major force between the Ride The Wilds economic development. Hassan drove an ATV to the lookout.
Credit Chris Jensen for NHPR

A new economic development effort got underway Saturday in the North Country.

It is called Ride the Wilds and it is a linking of ATV trails designed to attract ATV-riding tourists from the Northeast and Canada.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

For decades the North Country has had hundreds of miles of trails on which ATVs could rumble along.

Sound of ATVs…

But they were not linked. So, riders had to stop and put their ATVs on a trailer to get from place to place.

Once on a trailer tourists were inclined to take their dollars south for a motel or restaurant.

In 2011 some North Country residents looking for an economic boost got an idea, says Craig Washburn, of the Metallak ATV club.

“To hook all the northern areas of Coos County together and make it something very unique for the North Country.”

They persuaded land owners to allow their property to be crossed and got help from state agencies in working out key details.

Hundreds of people and dozens of ATVs showed up for the official opening of Ride The Wilds.
Hundreds of people and dozens of ATVs showed up for the official opening of Ride The Wilds.
Credit Chris Jensen for NHPR

The official opening of what’s called Ride The Wilds was Saturday at Coleman State Park in Stewartstown.

Ride The Wilds is a network of about 700 miles with plans to expand that to 1,000 miles in the next few years.

Modeled on a trail network in West Virginia the idea to persuade ATV tourists to stay in Coos.

Among those at the opening was Governor Maggie Hassan.

“Ride the Wilds is a prime example of what I love most about this great state, the all-hands-on-deck ethos.”

For NHPR News this is Chris Jensen

Credit Chris Jensen for NHPR

For a map of the major trails go here.