By Chris Jensen
Should there be a central organization to help coordinate and improve the use of trails in Coos County?
Should the different groups involved with trails – ranging from hiking to ATV clubs – work together to improve the recreational experience and boost economic development?
Those are two of the issues expected to be discussed at a meeting later this month being held by the North Country Council.
The regional planning group has been collecting information for the meeting as part of a project announced in 2014 called “A Plan for New Hampshire’s North Country.”
One of the many goals was increasing “the economic value of the region’s wide variety of world class trail systems through coordinated planning and
And the plan called for actions including creating an inventory and maps of trails, “bringing trail groups together to address existing and potential conflicts” and “identifying action steps to improve connectivity between trail systems and trails and services.”
The project isn’t just about tourism, but the quality of life for those who are here as well as attracting young families and entrepreneurs, North Country Council planner Tara Bamford told InDepthNH.org.
Bamford said she’ll present some of the information collected so far including the trails, availability of maps, ownership of land, maintenance, parking, access, safety concerns, how many people use them and the impacts of “multiple use.”
But she said there is more information needed.
“We’re trying to get our arms around everything that is known about trails in this region,” she said.
She said when all that information was being collected “what jumped out at us was the lack of a central organization coordinating the different trail needs.”
That would include how groups could work together to make everything from cross-country skiing to ATVs more enjoyable and easier.
“We saw there is a real opportunity being missed there,” she said.
But whether that happens is up to the groups involved in the trails, she said.
The meeting is scheduled for July 31 at 2:30 pm at White Mountains Regional High School in Whitefield.