No Bidders Show Up for Jericho Tour

January 11, 2012
Barbara Tetreault
Berlin Daily Sun

BERLIN – No developers turned out last week for a pre-submittal meeting and tour of the proposed Jericho Mountain State Park campground.

The state last month issued a request for proposals from private developers interested in building and operating a 200-site campground at the park under a 20-year lease with the Division of Parks and Recreation.

N.H. Trails Bureau Chief Chris Gamache said no potential bidders showed up for the Jan. 6 meeting, although it was described as mandatory. In an e-mail exchange, Gamache said two engineering firms did come for the meeting. He said the bureau, which is overseeing the process, will see if there are any inquiry questions over the next week. Otherwise, he said the state will wait for the Feb. 16 deadline for developers to submit proposals.  “That is the ultimate date right now,” Gamache wrote.

The state had hoped to announce the successful bidder on March 6 and see construction of the campground underway this spring.  The master plan calls for a campground that would include 81 RV sites with water and electric hook-ups, 93 tent sites, and 26 remote sites. The 2007 plan estimated the cost of developing the campground at $2 million.

The bureau is negotiating with Dillon Investments LLC to purchase an additional 1,500 acres for the 7,200-acre park. One of the parcels under negotiation, a 1,300-acre piece north of the existing park boundary, is the preferred site for the campground.

The state purchased the property in 2006 to develop into an ATV park. The master plan calls for 136 miles of ATV trails – about 70 miles of trail have been constructed.

Gamache said the loss of Federal Highway Administration funds will hurt Jericho state park. The federal government notified the state in December that it had made technical corrections to its funding formula for years 2009-2012 and as a result was rescinding all $678,000 allocated to New Hampshire’s Recreational Trails Program for 2012.

Gamache said Jericho state park has received about $50,000 a year from that federal program for trail work. He said there will still be some funding available from the state grant program which comes from registration fees and some left over 2011 federal funds.

Gamache said he is not sure yet what level of funding will be available for Jericho this summer and how many additional miles of trail will be developed.  “We can still expand but loss of those federal funds will make a major impact in how much and how soon things get done,” he said.

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