Following approval by the Columbia selectboard, a short
segment of Meridan Hill Road was opened for ATV use on Saturday, July 26. With
this addition to the Ride the Wilds trail system, four-wheelers may now travel
without being trailered from Lancaster to Pittsburg.
"This was the final piece of trail needed to complete Phase 1 of the 1,000-plus miles of inter-connected trails," said North Country OHRV Coalition president Harry Brown. "The Lancaster to Pittsburg route was missing only this little stretch on Meridan Hill Road, and thanks to the Columbia board and the North Country ATV Club in Stratford, both north-south corridors of Ride-the-Wilds are complete."
The Ride the Wilds trail system is the result of a collaborative effort begun in September of 2011 among several organizations, including the N.H. Bureau of Trails, the North Country OHRV Coalition and the New Hampshire Off-Highway Vehicle Association. This effort also involved ATV clubs throughout the region, the cooperation of private landowners and approval for ATV use on town and state roadways from local selectboards and state officials.
Mr. Brown explained that the Ride the Wilds trail network now includes two north-south corridors, one of which extends from Pittsburg to Gorham, along with the recently completed Pittsburg-to-Lancaster trail. "All the communities along the Connecticut River Valley in the North Country are now fully connected," he noted, "and with the addition of soon-to-be-approved additions of state road connections, ATV riders will have access to businesses all along the way."
Mr. Brown said work on Phase 2 of the Ride the Wilds system will focus on establishing east-west connections between Lancaster and Gorham, and a trail from Northumberland to Milan. Columbia selectman Don Campbell said the decision to authorize ATV use on the .2-mile section of Meridan Hill Road resulted from a unanimous vote following a public hearing on Wednesday, July 23. "I think the board realized how important this is to the economic improvement of the North Country," said Don.
Information about ATV clubs and a trail system map can be found on-line at www.nhgrand.com. .