March 28, 2017

AOAA To Host Spring Clean-Up

AOAA To Host Spring Clean-Up

BURNSIDE — The biggest cleanup yet at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) is planned for Saturday.

Operations Director David Porzi said 175 people have pre-registered for its annual spring cleanup, the largest number in the three years of the event.

While the first two cleanups sent volunteers in full force on two key areas notorious for their dumping issues — the aptly named “Dump Road” and the Third Patch/Whaleback areas — this year’s event will dispatch teams of volunteers to smaller piles scattered throughout the park’s 6,500 acres.

“This is going to be more focused on little areas that need cleaning up,” said Porzi.

During this week, Porzi and Kyle Buchter, whose company Off-Road Consulting is a co-sponsor of the event, will scout the Eastern and Western Reserves and drop GPS pins to denote trouble spots.

When volunteers arrive at the event center for registration at 8 a.m., they will be split into groups and sent to one of the pins.

Two 30-yard Dumpsters donated by Ken Deitrick and Disposable Management Services, of Coal Township, will be positioned in areas central to the dump piles.

Using garbage bags donated by the Keep PA Beautiful organization and PennDOT, volunteers will scour the woods for garbage like old televisions, computers, dryer vents, pool liners, children’s toys, washers, shelving units, bottles and cans.

Much of the dumping occurred in gullies created by strip mining located “off the beaten path,” Porzi said. Volunteers are asked to wear appropriate shoes, like boots, and bring gloves.

Tires will be retrieved and taken back to the trailhead, where they will be reused in a variety of trailmarking projects.

In addition to the volunteers, Porzi and his team will be out with heavy equipment to help move cumbersome garbage, like the many piles of discarded shingles that have compressed and congealed over the years. Coal Township commissioners are donating the use of their loader and dump truck, and the Anthracite Trail Riders are also contributing to the event.

Porzi credited this year’s co-sponsor Quadratec, a Jeep aftermarket part supplier, for bolstering the number of pre-registrants. Quadratec entered anyone who pre-registered by Monday into a drawing for more than $2,000 worth of prizes, including a winch.

Quadratec is also sponsoring a lunch catered by Cozy Nook. Pre-registration is not required to participate in the cleanup and the free lunch, and volunteers can simply show up at the trailhead at 8 a.m. Saturday. Anyone who helps will be permitted to ride for free following the conclusion of the cleanup, which is expected to end at 1 p.m.

The AOAA will hold a smaller cleanup in the fall. Porzi said the combination of the two cleanups over the last few years has greatly improved the appearance of the county’s land and welcomed back new wildlife.

“Places that literally looked like dumps, the vegetation’s coming back,” he said. “We’re returning it to its natural state.”

AOAA Spring Clean-Up adds to Its Importance

We are reminded again of the value of the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA), not just as an attraction for off-road and outdoor enthusiasts from near and far, but as a friend of the environment and an asset to the community.

The AOAA on Saturday will host another cleanup on its 6,500 acres of county land spread across five municipalities. It it expected to be the biggest cleanup yet in the three years of the spring event, with 175 people pre-registered. Helping that turnout is co-sponsor Quadratec, a Jeep aftermarket parts supplier that entered anyone who pre-registered by Monday into a drawing for more than $2,000 worth of prizes, including a winch. The other sponsor is Off-Road Consulting.

Involvement by firms like Quadratec indeed ups the ante for community events such as this. But that’s the value of having larger corporate friendships such as what the AOAA has fostered through its involvement in the huge off-highway vehicle market. It should also be noted that local standbys such as Ken Deitrick and Disposal Management Services, of Coal Township, are again lending a hand by hauling away the trash. Keep PA Beautiful and PennDOT are also helping by providing trash bags for the volunteers who will scour the woods for garbage.

 

Helping round out the local effort are Coal Township commissioners, who are donating the use of a loader and dump truck, and the Anthracite Trail Riders, a local group that grew up with the AOAA and has worked side-by-side with it to improve the land.

Quadratec is also sponsoring a lunch catered by Cozy Nook. Keep in mind — pre-registration is not required to participate in the cleanup and the free lunch, and volunteers can simply show up at the trailhead at 8 a.m. Saturday. Anyone who helps will be permitted to ride for free following the conclusion of the cleanup, which is expected to end at 1 p.m.

Since Day 1 of the AOAA concept, there was a reclamation element. With backing from the state, planners said part of the overall goal would be to clean up decades of dumping, fill in abandoned mine shafts and pits and address acid-mine drainage in helping restore the land to its natural state. That continues to happen — probably even more so than originally planned.

The environmental progress, along with nearly 29,000 passes sold to visitors in less than three years since its ribbon-cutting in May 2014, and annual contributions of thousands of dollars to its host municipalities, are combining to make the AOAA a great neighbor.

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