February 22, 2022

AOAA IN THE NEWS

AOAA purchases 100 acres of land for $140,700

AOAA purchases 100 acres of land for $140,700

 

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BURNSIDE — The Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) Authority on Monday agreed to finalize the purchase of 100.5 acres of land in Coal Township that contains existing AOAA trails.

The property, located in close proximity to acid mine drainage treatment ponds in the park’s Western Reserve, will be purchased for $140,700 from Tri-City Development.

The AOAA has been the tenant of the property for at least five years, according to Dave Porzi, AOAA director of operations.

In toll, the AOAA leases or owns approximately 8,500 acres of land in lower Northumberland County for the purposes of managing a motorized and non-motorized recreation facility.

Also at Monday’s public meeting, Porzi informed the authority that Shamokin Area Businesses for Economic Revitalization (SABER) will hold an Ice Breaker Ride the weekend of March 19 to entice AOAA riders to patronize businesses.

ATVs and related off-road vehicles will travel to and from the city via the AOAA portal off Terrace Avenue. Porzi recently spoke with Shamokin Mayor Rick Ulrich about improving a pedestrian crossing and a narrow stretch of the off-road path.

Two signs explaining certain rules and regulations of the AOAA and the City of Shamokin’s off-highway ordinance, which allows the operation of off-road vehicles on designated streets, will soon be erected along the portal.

The authority announced a job fair will be held at the AOAA trailhead 3 to 6 p.m. March 13 and 14; and approved the 2022 budget that anticipates $893,629.09 in expenditures and $1,022,200 in revenue for a net revenue of $128,570.91.

Porzi said the AOAA has received 20 right-to-know requests since November — the majority from one individual — concerning various topics. The authority said it has nothing to hide and will follow the state’s Right-to-Know Act, but encouraged people to visit the AOAA’s website, schedule an appointment with an AOAA staff member or attend public meetings.

“There’s opinions and there’s facts. When we get a right-to-know we give them facts,” authority Chairman Jim Backes remarked.

More than two dozen people attended January’s meeting, during which the authority faced a number of questions, concerns and accusations, most of which stemmed from a proposed rails-to-trails project between Sunbury and Mount Carmel.

No members of the general public attended Monday’s meeting.

 

Pack the Back Pack!

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2021 Fight The Blight Benefit Ride

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Northumberland Rail Trail

Northumberland Rail Trail

 

About the Northumberland County Rail Trail Master Plan

The Northumberland County Rail Trail Master Plan is a public process to determine the feasibility of creating a new recreational trail along the former Philadelphia and Reading railroad line in Northumberland County. The rail trail will connect the City of Sunbury with Mount Carmel Borough, traveling 36-miles through the communities of:


  • City of Sunbury (western end point)
  • Upper Augusta Township
  • Snydertown Borough
  • Shamokin Township
  • Coal Township
  • City of Shamokin
  • Mount Carmel Township
  • Mount Carmel Borough (eastern end point)


 

The rail trail is envisioned as a non-motorized recreation resource that will enhance the quality of life for area residents and attract visitors to our community and historic downtowns.

Planning Process

The 8-month master plan study is being led by the County’s Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) Authority, a public multi-municipal authority, with consultant support from Michael Baker International.

The process kicked-off in April 2021 and is on schedule to be completed in December 2021. Below are a few highlights of the study and the public engagement completed to date.

  • Steering Committee: A 26-person steering committee was formed to guide the master plan and sure the plan reflects local input and vision. Steering committee members include representatives from the county, each host municipality, local residents, and regional organizations such as the County’s Conservation District, SEDA-COG, and the Shikellamy School District.

     

  • Focus Groups with the Public: At the very beginning of the planning process, more than 40 community representatives were invited to participate in focus groups to provide local input on the overall need, vision, and desires for the proposed rail trail. These focus groups were held in June and shaped the initial preliminary concept plan.

     

  • One-on-One Interviews with Host Municipalities: The proposed trail alignment runs through eight municipalities. In August, the consultant team met individually with each municipality to gather additional local insight and to refine the working draft concept plan.

     

  • Public Meetings and Online Survey: This is where we need you! The preliminary draft concept plan will be presented at two public meetings on October 26 and 27. Please join us to provide your input, ask questions, and learn more. Additionally, please take our online survey! The survey findings will inform concept plan revisions and is a great way for the team to collect feedback from all members of the public near and far.

Public Meetings and Online Survey

Public Meeting #1

When:              Tuesday, October 26, 2021

                        5:00pm – 6:30pm

Where:             Northumberland County Career and Arts Center

                        2 East Arch Street, Shamokin, PA 17872

Public Meeting #2

When:              Wednesday, October 27, 2021

                        5:00pm – 6:30pm

Where:             Northumberland County Administration Center

                        399 Stadium Drive, Sunbury, PA 17801

Online Survey

When:              Open now through November 5, 2021

                        www.surveymonkey.com/r/northumberlandrailtrail

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the proposed trail going to be for non-motorized uses only?

Yes, the proposed rail trail will be a non-motorized trail for walking and biking. Protective barriers at roadway crossings will prevent ATVs from entering the trail.

I live along the former railbed, will my property be impacted?

The railbed is located on a standalone parcel that was previously owned by the County and conveyed to the AOAA Authority a few years ago. The AOAA Authority owns this narrow parcel which runs from the western edge of Sunbury to the greater Shamokin/Mt. Carmel area. Recognizing the importance of ownership, the AOAA Authority engaged outside assistance from the County’s legal counsel in 2021 to conduct a detailed deed and title search for the first 15 miles of the trail beginning in Sunbury and extending east. Findings of the detailed title and deed research will be publicly shared once available. 

In the City of Shamokin, the rail trail will be routed on road in the public right-of-way owned by the City.

West of Shamokin, trail development will require the AOAA Authority to obtain easements or purchase property from private property owners. Many of the property owners in this vicinity are private corporations and not residential.

Who will benefit from the rail trail?

Everyone! Based on rail trails across the state and county, the Northumberland County Rail Trail will serve local residents as a recreational amenity. Trail systems enhance community wellness by promoting activity, connect communities and reduce the reliance on cars, and provide social benefits.

In addition to local residents, trails are also known to attract visitors near and far and support local businesses by increasing visitor spending in towns.

Who will be responsible for litter pick-up, trail repairs, and general enforcement?

The AOAA Authority will own and operate the trail and will be responsible for developing a long-term maintenance and operations plans to ensure the trail is clean and accessible.

 

Related News

 

Grant Grows AOAA by 200 Acres

February 03, 2016

The Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) will be expanding by approximately 200 acres after receiving a state grant for $117,000, state Sen. John R. Gordner and Rep. Kurt Masser jointly announced Wednesday.

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AOAA Receives 2015 Trail Sharing Award

May 19, 2015

American Trails honors the contributions of leaders who are working for the advancement of trails across the country and around the world. Presented at the 22nd International Trails Symposium - May 19, 2015, Portland, Oregon

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