The expansion of mountain biking destinations and services benefits Northern Forest communities in two ways—by creating great local recreational resources for residents, as well as destination-worthy attractions that draw visitors to the region.
Since early 2017, the Center has been working with six mountain bike organizations in northern New Hampshire and adjacent parts of Vermont, Quebec, and Maine to develop the "MTB Collaborative," a group whose mission is to create and promote quality mountain biking experiences for visitors and residents while stewarding the natural landscape and securing economic benefits for North Country communities.
The group envisions a constellation of excellent trail networks built and run by committed locals, trails for all kinds of riders, accurate and detailed maps, a website to attract and inform visitors, and a robust business community to supporti local and visiting riders. The Center is facilitating the collaborative and is helping raise funds to make this vision a reality.
Collaborative members include Coos Cycling Club in Gorham, NH; Mahoosuc Pathways in Bethel, ME; Kingdom Trails in East Burke, VT; the Franconia Area Chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association in Franconia, NH; PRKR MTN in Littleton, NH; and Circuits Frontières in East Hereford, Quebec. Within a roughly 2-hour geography, east-to-west and north-to-south, there are about 200 miles of well-constructed, purpose-built, very fun trails to ride—and many more to come.
The Collaborative is making it possible for member networks to design and build trails more quickly than they otherwise could, especially trails for beginner and intermediate riders, to help grow the sport. Together the participants are developing consistent maps, creating a common website that promotes regional mountain biking opportunities, and learning from each other’s experiences.
There is great mountain biking in the Northern Forest beyond the networks participating in the Collaborative. We’re especially impressed by the Barkeater Trail Alliance in Lake Placid, NY, and Carrabassett NEMBA in Carrabassett Valley, Maine.
We look forward to working with the MTB Collaborative to build trail networks and programs that serve their communities and attract people looking for a fun ride—or even a new community where they can regularly get out and enjoy a network of purpose-built trails twisting through the forest.
Banner photo credit: Norm Greenburg, courtesy of Mahoosuc Pathways