GORHAM – With the snip of a scissors, the dream of opening up streets in Gorham to allow ATV access to downtown businesses was a reality. It happened just in time to coincide with the 4th Annual Jericho ATV Festival and a group of town officials and guests, including some from out of state who had come up to ride, were on hand for the brief ceremony at the Route 2 trail access last Thursday evening.
Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Paul Robitaille began by noting the grass along the access gate and trail had been cut by a volunteer, Brad Waterman, who lived just across the street. “That's what this is going to take, a lot of volunteers working together,” he said. He noted that Gorham has always been the front door for tourists coming to Coos County. “Gorham has a long history of welcoming people from away, from all walks of life, but it's the citizens of this community who've made it what it is,” Robitaille said. “We're going to say to the rest of the world, the front door's open.”
“It's been a long trip to get where we are today,” Chris Gamache, from the state Bureau of Trails, said. “I thank everyone that's here, and not here, for their efforts.” Robitaille said State Senator Jeff Woodburn wanted to be here, but had to choose between this and his 9-year old son's birthday party. His son won out, but he wanted to say he supports all of us today, Robitaille said. Woodburn has been appointed to a new state committee on OHRV use state wide.
“We are going to be an example for any new legislation,” Robitaille said. “It's cooperation and collaboration that will be necessary to harvest the benefits of ATV use in the North Country,” Chuck Henderson, representative of Jeanne Shaheen, said.
“There was a lot of efforts by a lot of people to make this happen, but none of this would would have happened without you here,” State Senator Bill Hatch said, pointing to those attending the event. “One of the reasons this has come altogether is citizen action.” “Everyone here has done a great job at thinking outside the box,” Ray Bergeron, a local business owner, said.
One of the main people who worked hard to make this happen was President of the Presidential OHRV Club, Henry Sanschagrin. “This is the day that's been a long time coming,” Sanschagrin said. “When we first started the club in 2010, we never dreamed it (ATVs) would be so big. We never dreamed they'd be allowed on Main Street. This has happened through the cooperation of so many agencies. They were all instrumental in getting this going.”
He then asked his committee to come up to the ribbon with him. “Be safe, be courteous, you are the ones who are going to police this,” Sanschagrin said, cutting the ribbon.
opened the front door to the North Country Thursday night with Henry Sanschagrin,
President of the Presidential OHRV Club cutting the ribbon. At left was Marie Duguay,
secretary/treasurer of the club, and Bob Langlands and Josh Bergeron,
directors of the club (DEBRA THORNBLAD PHOTO)