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Northumberland County Board of Commissioners is proposing to convert 6,000 acres of county-owned property to an Off Highway Vehicle Park for recreation vehicles as well as for non-motorized activities.

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Northumberland County plans OHV park for abandoned strip mine


PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Currently Northumberland County has approximately 1,000 vehicles riding illegally on approximately 6,000 acres of county land on any given weekend and constant daily use. There is a current and immediate need for responsible outdoor recreation.

photo of muddy trail

Overview of the property proposed for the OHV park and trails system

This proposal affords opportunities for all types of motorized and non-motorized use. Specifically, the type of terrain lends itself for use of full size 4x4 and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use. Because of its unique and diverse terrain, it is certain to become a national destination in the off road recreation industry.

The proposed park area is 6,000 acres of abandoned coal mining lands. The proposed park covers multiple municipalities located in Northumberland County, including Coal Township, Zerbe Township, Mount Carmel Township, East Cameron Township and West Cameron Township. Funding from Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation of Natural Resources (DCNR) is facilitating the development of the park's plan.

This OHV Park will encompass approximately 35 parcels of county owned land. The contour of the site is a variety of water courses, woodlands, and meadows but it is mostly unusable abandoned strip mines heavily scarred from previous mining activity which lends the land to be relatively unusable. However, the natural course and terrain lends itself to the design of an off highway vehicle park that has been heavily used illegally for the past 40 years by the public.

Our goal is to embrace the Lower Anthracite Region and transform it into a national destination for outdoor, year round recreation. The focus of the project is to provide a safe and regulated environment for the use of motorized off highway vehicles and also non-motorized recreation. The park would serve as a recreational area for many types of outdoor activities in a family oriented and safe environment.

photo of lake and trees

Scenic areas abound despite the long mining history of the land

DEVELOPMENT PLANS

Activities envisioned at the park include OHV trails, walking trails, hiking trails, primitive and full service camping areas, horseback trails, biking areas, hunting access, and trail conversions during the winter for snowmobiles and cross-country skiing.

The proposed project will include:

- A Welcome Center

- Parking area to accommodate trailers

- Extensive system of organized trails with signage

- Camp sites, both primitive and full hook up

- Rest Rooms

- Shower Facilities

- Picnic Pavilions

- Picnic Tables

- Vehicle washing center

- Emergency landing zones

In order to prepare for the visitors to the park, a community economic feasibility study is being conducted in conjunction with the master site plan. This study will look at the economic impact the park will generate and how the individual municipalities can prepare for the park opening.

Through the guidance and approval of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, a Steering Committee was formed to oversee the master site plan. Committee members represent various groups and have varied backgrounds to formulate a well rounded group.

photo of lake and trees

 

The master plan is being funded with grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The plan is being prepared by Pashek Associates, a Landscape Architecture and Community Planning Firm located in Pittsburgh in conjunction with Pennoni Associates of Mechanicsburg.

Riders who are interested to see new OHV areas to be built are invited to express their support and get involved in the planning process. Comments on the park plan may be submitted to Patrick Mack, Director of the Northumberland County Planning Department at pat.mack@norrycopa.net.

For more information on the project:

Northumberland County Planning Department
399 S. 5th St. Sunbury, PA 17801
Voice: 570-988-4343
Fax: 570-944-4436
Website: www.ohv.norrycopa.net
Facebook: Northumberland County OHV Park

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