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Berlin Area ATV/trail Bike public meeting summary
Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 @ 11:38:16 EST by administrator

Alliance-News Anonymous writes:  
Please Check the New Hampshire Off Highway Vehicle Association web site for future updates: www.nhohva.org


Berlin ATV Park Planning Process 12/7/05

Last night the Trails Bureau in the Department of Resources, Recreation and Development (DRED) made a presentation on the Berlin / Dillon land purchase.

Click Read More...for the full story.

It was an overview of what the land looks like, its features, some current attributes and some of the challenges faced by the department, and the process they will take in developing the plan and moving the project forward.

The challenges seem to be mostly short term and include fiscal issues and working around other activity on the land (logging and gravel pit activity).

Geaorge Pozzuto, formerly with the Forest Service and working temporarily part-time for the Trails Bureau, made most of the presentation. He displayed photographs he’s taken while scouting the land, most of which should be included on a brochure, the views and scenery are that good. He displayed some areas that he identified as potentially being used for specific purposes, i.e. one area that includes flat wide logging roads for training / youth riding, and another area that might be good for motocross events etc.

Several maps available described the land and existing logging roads; there will be a fair amount of trails not on the land the state purchased but that will link various sections. Adding together the 7,200 acres purchased with easements for ATV use, the total land area is 10,000 – 12,000 acres. He described the land as having a variety of types of terrain, making it attractive for all levels / ages. There are several areas where either no timber or thin timber is standing. He said that there would be virtually no trees bigger than 4 inches in diameter anywhere on the land.

He showed a photo and described a particular challenge posed by a spring where locals have filled jugs for decades, which is in the middle of the property. DRED will have to come up with a policy on the spring as part of their master plan.

He also identified the user groups for which he is planning and prioritized them. At the top of the list is ATVs, followed by snowmobiles, cross-country skiers (the Nansen Ski Club will be headquartered there) and other OHRV vehicles (trucks), and finally “other”. Pozzuto said he has received inquiry from groups that don’t fit into any of the other categories wanting to know about their ability to use the land, to which he has responded “probably none”, because, in his words, it is right next to the White Mountain National Forest where there is plenty of available area for those activities. This is meant primarily to be an ATV area.

Pozutto made it clear several times, that full development of the land to its full potential is a multi-year process, and anywhere from 5 to 10 years should be expected to maximize the activities.

For the near future, there is a possibility that a small area might be open for Summer ’06, but that would likely be on existing logging roads and he is still unsure where the Dillons will be logging. His belief is that they will be finished logging by a year from now, but they have rights to log for an additional 4 years.

It is important to note that no definite plans have been made; at this stage there are only concepts, ideas and proposals. The Trails Bureau hopes that sometime in the Spring they will be ready for the public hearing on their proposal, which will likely lay out a the stages of development over a period of years, what the trails look like, etc., including many policy decisions. The proposals will also include what types of camping will be available and where.

One of the ideas is to designate trails for certain levels of skill, similar to they way ski slopes are designated with green circles, blue squares and black diamonds.

Another recommendation that may, repeat may, come forth, is one to establish a small per-day use fee for all who want to use the land. Some reservations / concerns / opposition came from individuals representing NHOHVA at the meeting, under the premise that it has been paid for out of user fees already. The Trails Bureau is concerned that there will be no money for trail construction because such a significant amount is going to the land purchase (a summary of how the land is being paid for appears at the end). This discussion will need to be continued throughout the Winter.

For the next two or three months, the Trails Bureau is looking for trail ideas; uses, design, maintenance, what kind how much etc. It is vitally important that in the short term, the department receives input on what users want to see, what they think would be attractive to other users, etc. That information is only useful if you include reasons for your opinion. The “what” only matters if it is accompanied by the “why”.

Please send all comments to:

berlincomments@dred.state.nh.us

The earlier the better for their planning purposes. PLEASE remember to state clearly the reasons behind your idea.

Chief of the Trails Bureau Paul Grey is hoping NHOHVA can be helpful to the remaining core of the Androscoggin Club to grow and be able to perform functions necessary for the trail system there.

George Pozzuto especially wants to learn from users about mixing two wheeled use with four wheeled use,

The possibilities for the site are numerous, including educational opportunities along trails, i.e. stops that describe wildlife habitat, etc.

NHOHVA will remain active in monitoring the process and the progress of the proposals, and will provide input when necessary.



DILLON LAND PURCHASE DETAILS

Area around and including Jericho Lake currently owned by the City of Berlin: Transferred from Berlin to the State of New Hampshire (gift)

Purchase of Dillon Property: $2,100,000, as follows:

· Approximately $760,000 from the land aqcusition account*, $340,000 from operating funds

* the land acquisition account is funded through a portion of the registration fees plus any money not used each year in the grant-in-aid program is rolled into the land acquisition account

· The remaining balance is to be paid over 5 years from money in the land acquisition account plus interest paid from operating funds: 5 payments of $200,000 plus interest.

During the Executive Council process to purchase the land, there was talk of bonding the balance and paying Dillon off immediately rather than paying a higher rate to Dillon. That would take legislative action.



Curtis J. Barry

The Dupont Group

Concord, New Hampshire


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