Egg…

So I went to a couple businesses locally to see how the ATV trail did on opening weekend and over the long weekend, and I realized I misconstrued something in my last post. Every outdoor recreation-focused business in Berlin is in the same chicken or the egg situation, not just those doing “green” activities.

Even the “low hanging fruit” in Berlin is in need of infrastructure. The businesses that cater to ATV riders and snowmobiles are fighting to raise awareness of the opportunities and to expand the number of participants in their markets. Their challenge, like those of every other outdoor-centric business, is that Coös County isn’t known for recreation. They need that reputation to grow in order to be successful.

They are further along, however, with an event coming up and some regional press, but they are early in the process. Everything else is even further behind, but in the last post I made it sound like ATVing was already a sure bet in Berlin. It’s not. It’s still growing and hoping to become an established industry.

But it is growing. It has a future. Now the rest of “outdoor recreation” needs to catch up.

8 thoughts on “Egg…

  1. What has to “catch up” is the awareness of the potential. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen too many signs that indicate that the community is serious about outdoor recreation as a viable business sector.

  2. To me if a community was serious about a certain effort, there would be a evidence of commitments being made to support that effort. The issues surrounding the effort would be discussed, plans would be formulated, monies appropriated and the subject would be on peoples mind and lips. The same intensity of action and discussion that we see about biomass power plants for example. I just don’t see the issue of outdoor recreation being at the same level as more traditional economic activity.

  3. Berlin is a great place for outdoor activities, but as recently proven with the Robin Hood Rally we need decent lodging. There is no quality place to stay so many tourist will play here, but spend most of their money in Gorham. There was an article today that talks about the expansion of the ATV park which will include camping but that is seasonal and not for everyone.

  4. Tim, you’re mentioning a need that was identified years ago and which has become more acute and apparent with our efforts to encourage visitors to come and stay in Berlin. I think we have to ask ourselves why this hotel issue hasn’t been resolved. Unless I’m mistaken, wasn’t there a couple of developers interested in building a hotel off Rt-110? Wasn’t one of the major obstacles the cost of providing water and sewer services to the site? Wouldn’t a community who is seriously interested in rebuilding its economy invest in the infrastructure necessary to support that new economy? Isn’t the problem again the failure to differentiate between an expense and an investment by decision makers? It would seem to me that if a hotel is an agreed upon investment that needs to be made, then the task becomes that of identifying what the City can do in concert with private investors to make it happen. For example, it’s shameful to allow the lack of sewer and water service stop the development of a hotel and the expansion of a new economic sector when there’s several ways to address the cost of installing these services. To me, if we’re serious as a community about rebuilding our economy, we would tell the developer “if you invest and build a hotel in our City, we’ll provide the infrastructure you need”. Float a bond, find grants etc. but damn it, make it happen!

  5. I see there are multiple posters using the name Tim here.

    There are two immediate challenges I see standing in the way of Berlin becoming a tourist destination for outdoor recreation. The first is recognizing that tourism can help boost the local economy by creating jobs and bringing real dollars to the area. The primary argument I hear against the idea of expending time, energy and resources to become a tourist destination, is that tourism jobs don’t pay a livable wage. But for the unemployed facing the reality that lost mill jobs or anything equivalent are unlikely to return any time soon, if at all, a job in the tourism industry can mean the difference between remaining in the area or having to move away. If a job in the tourism industry will allow those who want to remain here that opportunity, no one should stand in the way of that. Not all jobs created by the tourism industry are minimum wage jobs. The job opportunities that the tourism industry can create go well beyond the lowest paying jobs on the tourism job wage scale. To simply dismiss tourism jobs as not worthy of pursuing because they do not replace mill jobs is short sighted and ignores the long-term potential and benefits that tourism can have.

    The second issue I see facing Berlin is marketing Berlin to the rest of the world. I have heard the argument that Berlin has nothing to market. I strongly disagree and so do those I speak to who come to visit Berlin. Even the simplest of things that locals take for granted have the potential to bring people to the area and nothing should be overlooked. I believe a simple marketing campaign to promote Berlin can be done cost effectively with the results benefiting local businesses. Attracting more people to visit creates opportunity and that has the potential to create more jobs along with other benefits. Putting together a marketing campaign is not brain surgery, does not have to cost a small fortune and can have almost immediate impact on local business.

    Bottom line is Berlin has plenty to market. It’s just a matter of understanding what the assets are and promoting them to a world that doesn’t know they even exist.

    Check out this story.

    http://commercial-news.com/local/x1720283475/Tourism-dollars-boost-local-economy

  6. Negative Stigma and appearance. Sorry guys, the number 1 reason Berlin NH can’t break wind is because the rest of the state still thinks its “breaking wind”. Stinkville USA is a hard stigma to lose. Raised in the central section of NH, I can attest to the fact that “NEGATIVE STIGMA” is the biggest issue this area faces and absolutely still does. The smell of the mill will impact this area’s perception for years to come. Additionally, why the hell would North Conway want to help out its northern cousin? Why would we want north conway? For their tourists money! The old mill town mentality is a hard one to overcome. The Conway Daily Sun just published a “Valley Fun” Spring Edition. I dare you to try to find an ad in the publication from Coos County…heaven forbid. Lincoln had Many losers before that mill town turned the corner…and only because Loon Mountain was nearby. Do you think for a minute that Wildcat uses the Berlin area for Success? Attitash? Not! It doesn’t matter if we have impressive cliffs to climb, rivers to rapid, wildlife to hunt down. The perception needs to change in the tourists’ mind and it hasn’t. Over time it may, but Berlin needs both industry and beauty to forge forward. The climb out of the hole Berlin is in, will take as much patience as the investors who eventually died trying to turn Lincoln around…and then some. Don’t give up or give in, yet be realistic about an industrial city that has a substandard appearance due to its “improvements” detracting from its natural beauty. Berlin is not the Balsams.

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