Marie P. Hughes, Colebrook Chronical, April 12, 2013
The Metallak ATV Club members had plenty of reasons to be happy at their annual meeting on April 10 as they viewed the large map outlining the proposed 1,000 miles of trails throughout Coos County. Craig Washburn, president, related the club is part of the Coos County coalition with the other 15 clubs in the county.
He also noted it would be necessary to be patient as various trails still needed to be made accessible and linked such as the ones with Stratford. However, eventually all the trails will be opened and the new logo, Ride the Wilds, revealed at the meeting, will be part of the common signage from Gorham to Pittsburg.
The grand opening of the 1,000 miles of trails will take place on June 15, 2013, at Coleman State Park. According to Harry Brown, president of the North Country OHRV Coalition, "I expect between 500 to 1,000 dignitaries and people across the Northeast to attend, and Governor Hassan will be present to cut the ribbon."
Trail Master, Arthur Beauchemin, discussed the successes of the past 16 months by members of the club whose volunteering helped prepare the trails used during the past year. Because of this year's lingering winter, he said he did not expect the trails to be opened before May 22, but he will keep members informed.
Many of the trails will need some work, and he will also be contact with construction companies to open up some further trails to extend the northern corridor. One of the issues he did discuss was the need for responsible use of the trails especially as many go through private property and over town roads.
Beauchemin said, "Be patient, our May 22 date is hard to determine, but weather permitting we will be open. However by July 4, we are positive most of the trails will be ready."
He also stated there will be new lookouts in Diamond Pond and the railroad bed will be available from Colebrook to West Stewartstown. The members also learned that the trails should be connected with the Stratford trails by next summer.
Another important issue discussed was the need for self policing and reporting of those who were not respecting the trails. According to Beauchemin, "We are going to have to police ourselves. We will have a very aggressive patrol, trained by NH Fish and Game."
For misuse of the trails, riders can be fined up to $1,000 and an impoundment of their vehicles. Many of the members feel their biggest nemesis will be the locals rather than those from away.
Another safety precaution will be that no child 12 to 18 will be able to drive the trails unless they have taken the safety course. The first course will be offered May 18, and members or interested parties should watch for the announcements in the local media.
In further business, the club nominated and elected two new directors, April Hyde and Mike Falconer, who will replace Harlan Connary and Bill Sparklin, who are retiring as Directors.
The next meeting of the club will take place on May 8 at the Dancing Bear Pub at 7 p.m.