Mountain bike areas spanning 2 countries, 3 states and 7 locations have joined together as The Borderlands to promote the Northeast’s most exciting and diverse mountain biking terrain. They offer with eye-popping scenery and laid-back host communities that offer plenty of craft breweries, farm stands, good food and local flavor.
The seven mountain bike organizations in and around northern New Hampshire are committed to creating and promoting high-quality riding experiences for both residents and visitors.
About 150 riders encountered Bike the Borderlands at its launch party during registration for Winterbike at Kingdom Trails March 1 – 2. “It was incredible see the mountain biking community discovering the Borderlands for the first time,” said Center President Rob Riley who attended the launch with his son William, who handled merchandise giveaways promoting Bike the Borderlands.
“People are really excited to explore these mountain bike areas that they didn’t know about,” said Riley, who met an engineer at the event who had moved to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont from southern New Hampshire to be closer to mountain biking opportunities. “I expect we’ll see a lot more of this — people who can work remotely choosing to move to Northern Forest communities that have the recreational assets and outdoor lifestyle they seek.”
The Borderlands collaborative has created a challenge program with incentives to get riders to visit all seven locations and support local businesses by Sept. 21. Mountain bikers who photograph themselves on the trails of the seven participating mountain bike areas as well as at local stores can win a one-of-a-kind hoodie, hat and exclusive “Tour de Borderlands 2019 Finisher” patch. The Borderlands network is also offering a weekend getaway as the grand prize for it Borderlands Photo Contest.
With support from the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, USDA Rural Development, Davis Conservation Foundation, the Northern Border Regional Commission, and other sources, the Center has managed a grant program to help members improve and diversify their trails and helped the group create the Borderlands marketing effort and develop ways to support their communities.
“Every network involved has a unique offering for the traveling rider that will make this project shine as a road-trip planning tool,” said Jason Hunter, executive director of Coös Cycling Club, which is one of the Borderlands members.
Descriptions of each of the seven mountain bike areas are on the Bike the Borderlands website, as well as details about the Tour de Borderlands challenge and the photo contest.
“The member networks all meet a set of quality and mileage standards, and the group strives to strengthen both their individual networks and the whole region – three states, two countries! – as a mountain biking destination,” said Center Program Director Maura Adams, who coordinates the Borderlands network.
The Northern Forest Center began working with Borderlands members in 2017, setting goals with the group and quality standards for mountain bike areas. Many of the locations are in or near communities whose economic base has shifted radically with the transition away from paper and other wood products manufacturing in the region.
Top photo by Joe Klementovich at PRKR MTN trails in Littlteon, NH (courtesy of The Conservation Fund).