Ceremony Set to Name Visitors Center After Former Mayor

June 3, 2013
by Barbara Tetreault
The Berlin Daily Sun

BERLIN Former Berlin Mayor Robert Danderson will return to Berlin next Tuesday, June 11, for a formal ceremony naming the visitor center at Jericho Mountain State Park after him.

The ceremony was organized by current Mayor Paul Grenier to recognize Danderson's role in the creation of the 7,800-acre ATV park. At the city's request, the legislature last year approved a bill naming the visitor center the Robert Danderson Visitor Center.

Students in the Berlin High Building Trades Program built the visitor center during the 2010-2011 school year.

N.H. Trails Bureau head Chris Gamache said the city is making a permanent sign for the building. A temporary sign will be put in place at the ceremony, which starts at 1 p.m.

Grenier and Gamache said Danderson, who has since moved to Florida, will attend the June 11 ceremony.  At a recent tour of the park by state legislators, Grenier said the park is a testament to Danderson's vision and tenacity.

When the 7,200-acre Dillon property went up for sale in 2004, Danderson saw it as an ideal place to create a park devoted to ATVs. Danderson had skied and mountain biked on the property and was familiar with its potential.

City officials opposed efforts to add the property to the White Mountain National Forest because the Forest Service does not allow ATV use on its land. With places to ride ATVs limited in the state, Danderson saw it as a potential economic boom for the Androscoggin Valley.

As part of the proposal, the city agreed to donate the 300-acre Jericho Lake parcel to the state for inclusion in the park, with the stipulation that Berlin residents can use the beach area free of charge.

The park now includes over 80 miles of ATV trails with a master plan that calls for about 135 miles. The state last year added a 20-site campground.

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