July 1, 2015
Harry C. Brown, President
Ride the Wilds
For immediate release:
An internal Executive Committee email within the North Country OHRV Coalition was recently released to outside sources, according to Harry Brown, President and spokesperson for the Coalition. The memo outlined the Coalition’s discussions with Eversource, the builder of the proposed Northern Pass Transmission Line. The following is an excerpt from the memo:
“I [Harry Brown] have spoken with every single director about my activities reference the ‘Northern Pass’ negotiations. While the final details are not even worked out – thought it might be today – it looks like this at this moment: up front $250,000 to $ 500,000 and a gift of land of a little over 1,100 acres in the Diamond Pond area valued in excess of $ 1,500,000 with 9 residential structures in various sizes. Once the Northern Pass project is approved, then they will grant us an easement for a trail from Hall Streams Road in Pittsburg to the Dixville town line on Sugar Hill. In addition, they will grant us $ 500,000 a year over the next 10 years or an addition $ FIVE MILLION DOLLARS!”
Brown claims that this memo, or parts of it, have been distributed to the press. He maintains that it is premature to release anything because the Coalition lacks a firm offer from Eversource. Brown nonetheless acknowledged that the above quote from the internal memo is an accurate depiction of discussions to date. If and when, according to Brown, the Coalition is offered something concrete to discuss, the following process will most likely occur: The offer will then be vented with the entire Coalition Board of Directors (BOD), then that meeting will likely be recessed, allowing for the entire Coalition to get individual club positions; followed by the reconvening of the recessed Coalition meeting and a vote–for or against the proposed MOU.
If Eversource makes an offer as previously described, it certainly could be an incredible boost for Ride the Wilds, a 1,000+ miles of OHRV trails in Coos County, exclaimed Brown. As outlined, it would initially provide a cash infusion along with a donation of a little over 1,100 acres of land in the Diamond Pond area of Stewartstown and Colebrook valued in excess of $ 1,500,000 with nine residential structures of various sizes. The Coalition would then have several options: build another riding park in Northwestern Coos County; lease or rent the structures or sell them to raise money, and use the cash along with RTP and GIA grants to build out the park.
Also as outlined, the second part of the agreement would be contingent on the Northern Pass Transmission Line being built. It would include a right of way from Hall’s Stream Road in Pittsburg to the vicinity of Heath Road and Bear Rock Road in Stewartstown for a new trail to be constructed and $ 5,000,000 paid out over ten years. The securing of this significant right of way could kick off a program to secure right of ways throughout the system, thus securing passages for Ride the Wilds in perpetuity. Brown’s recommendation to his BOD if the outlined offer moves forward would be that the $5,000,000 should be invested and the earnings from the principal be used for operations. Currently the OHRV clubs have to rely on federal and state grants which remain as secure as a frayed shoestring along with their own fund raising efforts. These earnings would give the Coalition endless opportunities including a significant staff which could include two or three construction crews to enhance all eleven of the Coalition Clubs’ trail construction and maintenance initiatives. Regardless, if offered and approved, it would ensure the future regardless of other funding sources.
The North Country OHRV Coalition has not been asked to endorse the Northern Pass Transmission Project, said Brown emphatically. Ride the Wilds has created a very strong economic engine for Coos County and that if Northern Pass moves forward with an offer, then if the Coalition accepts the offer, this would be a game changer for Ride the Wilds and the many businesses and jobs supported by this growing industry. He also believes that his organization’s type of recreation can easily coexist with the transmission line. In conclusion, said Brown, if the Coalition is offered anything by Northern Pass it will be up to its Board of Directors to accept or reject the offer.