Coal Township, Pennsylvania
The Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) is located in Eastern Pennsylvania, in the southeast part of Northumberland County in Coal Township, Pennsylvania. Northumberland County is located to the east of the Susquehanna River, strategically situated around 20 miles from both Interstate 80 and Interstate 81.
Both the trail system's name as well as that of the host community have ties to the area's location in the anthracite coal region. AOAA occupies land in the Western Middle Coal Field. AOAA's topography, land features and soil composition are significantly influenced by the distinctive natural resources and history of the region.
For much of the 1800s through the first part of the 20th Century, Northumberland County saw a booming coal industry that fueled the country's industrial development. In its heyday in the 1920s, Coal Township and the adjacent city of Shamokin were home to 50,000 people.
Described as one of the best exposures of folded rock structure in the United States, the Whaleback is a seven-acre geological formation on property adjacent to the AOAA Western Reserve. The rock formation was uncovered as the result of coal and overlying rock being removed by previous mining operations, and shows three dimensional structures of folding and faulting that has held the interest of leading geologists.
Some portions of the Whaleback are visible from the AOAA Western Reserve.
Whaleback is not on AOAA property and the AOAA cannot grant permission to access the Whaleback nor do we condone accessing the Whaleback without obtaining PRIOR approved written permission from the owner. In addition the Whaleback is not readily accessible or open to the general public. Any unauthorized entry onto properties not owned or leased by AOAA, including but not limited to the Whaleback, may result in the violator being subject to criminal prosecution.