GORHAM — Ray Bergeron of Milan is offering ATV rentals and two-hour Moose Tours this summer from his Motorcycle Snowmobile Service shop on Routes 2 and 16, west of the center of town. In the winter he rents snowmobiles there.
“Moose tours are popular, but I also put together custom tours,” Bergeron explained. “I recently guided 10 people from the Dominican Republic, and they were all amazed and delighted with the cold fresh-water spring up at Jericho — something that those of us who live here take for granted.
They also enjoyed the view from the height of land in the state park, overlooking Dummer and the wind farm in Millsfield and Dixville.”
An adventurous “Mommy blogger,” her husband, and their 13-year-old son also recently had a wonderful time, Bergeron said.
“I get repeat customers ho’ve rented snowmobiles here in the winter,” he explained, noting that he prints and distributes brochures, uses the Internet, and advertises on radio and TV in the Boston market. Most customers make their reservations on the telephone (800-458-1838).
“Safety, of course, is the most important thing,” explained the motorized sports enthusiast.
“I’ve been a state Fish and Game safety instructor for 25 years, and I make sure that those new to the activity get about 30 minutes of instruction on what they need to know. I know what to look for, and I really pay attention to whether drivers are ready to go out on self-guided trips.
Everyone wears a helmet — one that has been carefully sanitized between customers — and everyone wears a seatbelt. “All units are GPS equipped so we know where every ATV is and how fast it’s being driven,” Bergeron said.
“We took out some railroad enthusiasts recently, and they loved seeing the old railroad station — the Eastern Depot Restaurant — in Berlin, and we stopped there to have a cone outside at Ingy’s Ice Cream,” he said. “It’s this kind of customer interaction that is so much fun.
I’m showing off what I’ve always known; why I remember when bulldozers were pushing dirt to make Jericho Lake!”
Gorham is the busiest of Bergeron’s three shops. His headquarters is located in Fryeburg, Me., and his second shop is in Bethel, Me.
“The town has been very supportive of my efforts, and (town manager) Robin Frost is very responsive,” Bergeron said.
When asked whether he thinks the just-opened “Ride the Wilds” — Coös County’s interconnected 1,000-mile trail system — will be a great success, he replied with a very enthusiastic, “Yes!” He expects, he said, that some that customers will happily rent ATVs rather buying them for a multi-day trip, simply because ownership can be a nuisance for someone who lives in a city or crowded suburb.
“There’s an adventure factor that people enjoy,” he said, “but not everyone will want take up ATVing as their number one hobby.
Ray Bergeron of Milan, a
Berlin native who owns and operates Northeast ATV Rentals at
299 Main Street in Gorham, is promoting two-hour guided Moose Tours from the trailhead off
Route 2 north to Jericho Mountain State Park in Berlin.