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Thread: Moosehead Ski Area Proposal

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by NHClimber View Post
    I wonder how far one could travel on the mountain division starting in N. Conway and heading towards Portland.
    I know at least one person who has done a "sea to summit" using that route.

  2. #32
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    I followed the Sebago to the Sea route on Google Maps. It looks like it would be a decent hiking trail. Stretch it all the way to Mt Washington and have that as one terminus. The other in Portland.

  3. #33
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    If I had the Gates' money, I'd rehab the line and also the Balsams (unrelated) and run them for the benefit of the various communities. I'd set additional amounts aside, the interest from which would support the annual losses that both of these projects would incur.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
    It's N scale Chris. All started from my son & wife getting the US Forest Service - Smokey Bear collectible trains for Christmas a few years back.

    I started to wonder yesterday if any abandoned rails existed out of or nearby Greenville for something like this: https://hoborr.com/rail-bike-adventures/ (I was looking for another outfit and just found this closer to home!).

    After we discovered this activity 2 years ago we did this trip: https://wildernesswebb.com/2019/09/1...ets-the-ocean/

    When I got back to work in the Berlin/Gorham area I teased every chamber/tourism related official I ran into to tell them they could try something like this, except they ripped all their rails up. There are a lot of new and exciting outdoor recreation ideas out there, and the more diverse and interesting things for people to do may lead to better success.
    What fun!! And given the efficiency of steel wheels on steel rails you were rolling at a good clip in that video.

    I wonder if Conway Scenic would ever consider a self-powered day on part of their system. Crank Crawford Notch!!!
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
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  6. #36
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    And more

    Before the Conway Scenic sealed the deal with the state to lease the track through Crawford Notch for an incredibly nominal fee, there were folks running track cars over it as well as some un-powered track cars using gravity assist. There was a video of one of these trips online long ago. At some point CSRR was in the process of repairing the track assuming it was not being used and had equipment across the track and one or more of the bootleg cars ran into it. I dont think anyone was killed but that in theory shut down a bootleg activity. There was some debate at the time that since it was owned by the state why should it be reserved exclusively for CSRR a private entity? I think organized groups have subsequently been allowed to run the track under CSRR control on a very limited basis but do not know if the new owners have continued it.

    I had envisioned a similar run from Berlin to Gorham on the abandoned Boston & Maine track when it still existed. Its one long gradual downhill grade with some nice vews of the face of the Cascade Falls on the Androscoggin that are mostly hidden from the general public by the mill complex. These falls and the nearby Alpine Cascade (similar to the Flume) was the biggest tourist attraction in the whites when the only rail access was the Saint Laurence and Atlantic. This was before the papermill and the dam was built taking advantage of the significant drop in the river. I did a scouting trip but never got around to building something to run the rails as one of the downsides of this section was some of the thickest tick populations I have ever encountered at a time when ticks were not present in the north country. I believe the state was the one that sold the rights to a private firm to strip the rails, ties and any other misc components. The contractor did it during a record hot and dry summer and managed to start a pretty significant forest fire up the side of Cascade Mountain in Gorham. The state never did go through with the rail trail proposal but did spend ATV and snowmobile registration dollars in later years to upgrade the track bed. They eventually designated the section west of Pinkham B road in Randolph as a rail trail but never brought in stone dust to smooth out the bed. Road bikers complain about this but unlike ATV and snowmobiles bikes do not require registration fees so upgrades for bikes are dependent on grants and other intermittent sources. . There have been upgrades in the Cherry Mountain Pond area and one of the old rail bridges was rehabbed last year. The most interesting section of the route is the section east of Pinkham B to the ATV lot in Gorham as it goes through the steep walled Moose River valley before coming out in Gorham. This section is used for snowmobiles and folks with bikes that can deal with the rough bed. There was a wash out last year but it was fixed.

  7. #37
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    Chris, that was one of the beauties- the design of the rail car was heavy, so momentum was easily achieved. Pedaling easy, wheels steel and real so you got the wonderful clickety-clack as you rolled. If I could have pedaled home to NH, I would have. Peakbagger, so much would be gained if the rail trail between Gorham and Pondicherry was hardened. The Friends of Pondicherry did a good job (so far) on the popular section from near the airfield in Whitefield. I suggested once to the Trails Bureau district chief in your town, that he should encourage one of his outfits to convert an ATV into some semblance of a Thomas wagon to keep alive a nod to the rail history of the trails and add a tourist interest; he thinks I'm crazy. My billionaire dream would be to run railcarts from Cottage Street in Littleton up to Whitefield for ice cream, then on to Pondicherry.

  8. #38
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    more thread drift...

    Looking at the maps of the area surrounding Pondicherry, Cherry mountain is the one that pops up to the south? Is it hiked much in the Winter? And is the trailhead parking lot plowed? I've driven by it several times in the Summer after hiking other peaks in the area. I'm going to have to stop at some point, I think.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    more thread drift...

    Looking at the maps of the area surrounding Pondicherry, Cherry mountain is the one that pops up to the south? Is it hiked much in the Winter? And is the trailhead parking lot plowed? I've driven by it several times in the Summer after hiking other peaks in the area. I'm going to have to stop at some point, I think.
    There is a snomo trail that goes up from Cherry Mtn Rd to Mt Martha.

    https://www.vftt.org/forums/showthre...mpgoto=newpost

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    more thread drift...

    Looking at the maps of the area surrounding Pondicherry, Cherry mountain is the one that pops up to the south? Is it hiked much in the Winter? And is the trailhead parking lot plowed? I've driven by it several times in the Summer after hiking other peaks in the area. I'm going to have to stop at some point, I think.
    Neither of the Cherry Mt. trailheads from Rte, 115 get plowed in the winter. I used to commute daily by it and saw evidence of frequent desperate struggles with snow. The shoulder is somewhat wide by both trailheads, but would be safer at south trailhead. You can also hike from the Old Cherry Mt Rd. in fair seasons.

  11. #41
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    Thank you

    10 characters

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
    Chris, that was one of the beauties- the design of the rail car was heavy, so momentum was easily achieved. Pedaling easy, wheels steel and real so you got the wonderful clickety-clack as you rolled. If I could have pedaled home to NH, I would have. Peakbagger, so much would be gained if the rail trail between Gorham and Pondicherry was hardened. The Friends of Pondicherry did a good job (so far) on the popular section from near the airfield in Whitefield. I suggested once to the Trails Bureau district chief in your town, that he should encourage one of his outfits to convert an ATV into some semblance of a Thomas wagon to keep alive a nod to the rail history of the trails and add a tourist interest; he thinks I'm crazy. My billionaire dream would be to run railcarts from Cottage Street in Littleton up to Whitefield for ice cream, then on to Pondicherry.
    My guess on how and why the Moose River and Randolph section gets little love is the ban on ATVs west of the parking lot in Gorham. I think snowmobile dollars were spent to deal with the washout east of the beaver ponds this year but expect a mutiny if a dime of ATV money was spent on this stretch. I have heard once or twice Randolph folks comment that they desperately need to keep Randolph functional as a town so they can control what it going on in its borders. Its difficult as the year round resident base is quite low to fill all the required positions. The reasoning goes if Randolph ceases to be a town, it would be annexed by Jefferson and Gorham or the county and those living there would loose control of what is going on in their backyards. The contempt for ATVs by some residents and summer property owners is quite deep. The ATV crowd in Gorham that bullies the selectman and any one else opposed to ATVs, is pretty open with their contempt for Randolph's ATV trail ban and have attempted end runs around it in the past. My guess is unless its federal or private money any state money for hardening this stretch would get amended to add ATV use and that would not fly. Its the logical place for Ice T money to be used but that precludes snowmobile use and expect they will not give up that stretch..

    Folks I have talked to who have ridden the cross NH trail have universally given the stretch shared with ATVs from the Gorham ATV lot to to turn off to Hogan Road very bad reviews for surface as the ATV traffic turns it into choking dust in dry conditions and rutted and bumpy the rest of the year. I have suggested to more than few to bypass the official route and ride along RT2 with its narrow shoulders to the railroad trestle and walk across the pedestrian bridge then take the road to the dam and then upriver to the second bridge to avoid the ATVs to the maximum amount possible. Of course once they get to Hogan road, those with road bikes are not to thrilled with its condition. Its another "if you build it they will come" concepts. Lay out the route put up a few markers and get some free publicity and let someone else worry about the real work of getting funding and buy in of all the parties.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 01-26-2021 at 09:56 AM.

  13. #43
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    I vote to lay down rail from Gorham to Pondicherry. What's old should be new. Then break out the rail riders. I like what Fryeburg did -- keep the rail and have a bike path next to it. Maybe time to buy the rail line from Whitefield to Groveton. Ripping up rails is ripping up history. I am rambling...

  14. #44
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    An update on the Moosehead Ski Resort proposal. The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)is lending the money to rebuild the resort.
    https://92moose.fm/maine-ski-resort/

    This article from a few weeks ago has more details
    https://observer-me.com/2021/03/24/n...esort-project/

    I dont think any entity has ever made money on actual resort operations on the site despite many who have tried. Its definitely not a ski area that is good for daytrips from urban areas

    Over the years FAME has been involved with several high profile failures of major projects. Generally the developers end up skimming some profits off the top before the project goes bellyup. Banks are desperate to make commercial loans these days given very cheap federal fund rates. If a commercial entity is not willing to lend on a good project, it usually means that the when FAME steps in its very risky project.

    My guess is Les Otten is wishing the Balsams was a bit west over the Maine state line at this point. He had the same approach using state guaranteed loans for small part of the project and a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district to have the potential increase in property taxes pay the bonds. The usual problem with TIFs is that the local services needed to support the facilities are not able to be funded since the property taxes can only be spent within the TIF. Unfortunately The NH version of FAME is far more conservative and wanted to see far more details on the Balsams project than Les was willing to show. Eventually the parties parted company.

  15. #45
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    An update on the Moosehead Ski Resort proposal. The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)is lending the money to rebuild the resort.
    https://92moose.fm/maine-ski-resort/

    This article from a few weeks ago has more details
    https://observer-me.com/2021/03/24/n...esort-project/

    I dont think any entity has ever made money on actual resort operations on the site despite many who have tried. Its definitely not a ski area that is good for daytrips from urban areas

    Over the years FAME has been involved with several high profile failures of major projects. Generally the developers end up skimming some profits off the top before the project goes bellyup. Banks are desperate to make commercial loans these days given very cheap federal fund rates. If a commercial entity is not willing to lend on a good project, it usually means that the when FAME steps in its very risky project.

    My guess is Les Otten is wishing the Balsams was a bit west over the Maine state line at this point. He had the same approach using state guaranteed loans for small part of the project and a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district to have the potential increase in property taxes pay the bonds. The usual problem with TIFs is that the local services needed to support the facilities are not able to be funded since the property taxes can only be spent within the TIF. Unfortunately The NH version of FAME is far more conservative and wanted to see far more details on the Balsams project than Les was willing to show. Eventually the parties parted company.
    When Moosehead fails, who's on the hook for the FAME funds, it that a mix of banking partners and Maine taxpayers? If this was a great idea for making money, they would be beating commercial bankers away with a stick. As Peakbagger mentioned, it's not a day trip visit for Southern New England. How will they get NY and NJ skiers to bypass Stratton & Killington. There are just too many other closer options for CT and Boston unless it has something the other's don't have. It's not the topography.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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