By Paula Tracy
Escape Outside Editor
WMUR Channel 9
May 22, 2013
Chris Gamache, director of the bureau of trails for the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, said the trail systems in the Granite State and a collective willingness by local officials in the Great North Woods to become ATV-friendly could be a huge economic boost to the region in the years to come in much the same way the trail system was developed in West Virgina over the past decade.
"We think there is huge potential to develop the trails we have here for a national draw," he said.
Jericho Mountain State Park in Berlin opens for ATV riding for the season, Thursday with about 75 miles of trails over the state-owned network of 7,800 acres, just west of Berlin.
The state has spent over $3 million on trail work and infrastructure to develop the park over the past five years.
Emi Fleshman, customer service manager for Hatfield-McCoy trails in West Virginia, said it sounds a lot like the trail system which has been developed in her state since the year 2000.
She grew up in this region of southern West Virignia and drove through desolate communities which were abandoned after the coal industry withdrew.
In the year 2000, as part of a public-private economic development effort, a series of eight trail systems were developed in over nine counties for ATV riding.
"It has breathed life into what was essentially a dead area, economically," she said. "Now there are business, people, four-wheelers and tourists and people who are not from here, coming to visit.
Additional info added by WMRR editor - Taken from the Hatfield~McCoy website at http://www.trailsheaven.com/
About the Hatfield~McCoy Trail System - An
Economic Development Project
The Hatfield~McCoy Trail System is a statutory corporation created by the West Virginia Legislature to generate economic development through tourism in nine southern West Virginia counties. As of 2013, the Hatfield~McCoy Trail System covers more than 600 miles of off-road trails in seven of its nine project counties. All of the trail systems are open 365 days a year to ATVs, dirt bikes, and utility vehicles (UTVs). Many of the trail systems also offer community connecting trails that allow visitors to access “ATV-friendly towns” to experience the charm of southern West Virginia.
The eight Hatfield~McCoy trail systems are Bearwallow (67 miles), Buffalo Mountain (106 miles), Indian Ridge (63 miles), Little Coal River (54 miles), Pinnacle Creek (79 miles), Pocahontas (57 miles), Rockhouse (89 miles) and Ivy Branch (opening July 2013) . No matter which trail system you choose, Hatfield~McCoy Trail visitors can expect to find a variety of trails ranging from easiest to most difficult. These are not your typical “flatlander” trails, however, and can be a challenge for a first-time rider. For this reason, visitors may choose from a list of ATV guided tour and rental providers. You can also find a listing of lodging facilities by visiting our lodging page.
The overall goal of the Hatfield~McCoy Trails project is to develop a world-class trail system with an emphasis on safety in each of its nine project counties throughout southern West Virginia. Project estimates have concluded that once the trails are developed and linked, there may be as much as 2,000 total miles of trails. Long-term plans for the Hatfield~McCoy Trails also include a 4x4 park in Kanawha County and designated trail areas for equestrian and other non-motorized users.