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The Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area is a 6,500-acre abandoned mine area that has been converted to a recreation facility with both motorized and nonmotorized trail systems.

arrow Download the 346-page Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area Master Plan (pdf 17.7 mb)

arrow This project won a 2014 Annual Achievement Award for outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program funds


Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area: the Birth of a Trail Project

photo of side by side recreational vehicle



It was a little over five years ago that I heard Barry Yorwarth’s idea to use the 6,500 acre County-owned abandoned coal land in the Lower Anthracite Region of Northumberland County and turn it into a trail paradise for ATVs and full size vehicles. The three County commissioners at that time thought an off-highway vehicle facility would attract users from across Pennsylvania and neighboring states and could be the economic engine to help revitalize this depressed area of the County.

And so the long journey began with hundreds of meetings, numerous tours of the proposed area, and most importantly searching, applying, and securing funding for this large-scale undertaking that will eventually be known as the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area. AOAA is driven by three guiding principles:
• Recreational Opportunities
• Economic Development
• Conservation of Natural Resources

After securing approximately $3,874,500 in grants and having a Master Plan for guidance, we were finally ready to begin the design of the trailhead and construction of the 3,000 square foot building that contains the three bay garage, conference room, restrooms, office and check-in counter. Almost all of the grants awarded came with a matching amount on our part. For that purpose, we were able to use $1,212,645 for a reclamation project, funding for the youth ATV safety program, and a purchased supply of youth helmets and goggles.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has awarded this project over $2,888,000. The registration fees for ATVs and snowmobiles were a large contributor in the grant monies provided by DCNR and this accomplished their goal to add another destination to ride ATVs in Pennsylvania.


photo of poster showing different trail uses


In addition to the DCNR grants, the AOAA has received grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission, Department of Community and Economic Development, Yamaha Motor Corporation, Polaris Industries, Children’s Miracle Network, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Academy of Pediatrics. Additional partnership and "in kind" donations have come from Act 13, Can Am, Geisinger Children's Miracle Network, PA Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Surface Mining, NCCD as well as local clubs and business.

The 6,500 acres that constitutes the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area lies in the Townships of Coal, Mount Carmel, East Cameron, West Cameron and Zerbe. When it was agreed to pursue the idea of an off road facility, it was presented to each municipality including the nearby City of Shamokin.

Over the following two years, meetings were held with representatives from the municipalities to help them prepare for the influx of visitors to the Lower Anthracite Region. Meetings were also held with emergency responders. Three well attended public meetings were held in addition to key person interviews. A 16 person steering committee was appointed with representatives from various outdoor activities for their input in formulating the Master Plan.

On June 21, 2013, a ground breaking ceremony was held at the AOAA. Among those in attendance was the then Deputy Secretary of DCNR Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, Cindy Dunn. The Deputy Secretary said that while the AOAA is still in its infancy stages, DCNR dedicates full state support through its childhood and adolescence. She told the crowd that we can now sit back and watch our child grow. In turn, the AOAA would like to see all the users continue to come back season after season and continue to “watch us grow” each year as we move through the various planned phases of developing the AOAA.


For more information:

arrow Download the 346-page Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area Master Plan (pdf 17.7 mb)

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