AOAA chairman: Campground will meet major need
BURNSIDE - Jim Backes, chairman of the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) Authority, said Earthday Campground will help meet one of the greatest needs created by the park.
"The biggest opportunity is in campgrounds, bed and breakfasts and cabins," said Backes.
While there have been some informal inquiries, he isn't aware of any other projects spawned by the AOAA such as what Joe and Maria Bressi are undertaking.
Knoebels' Amusement Park's camping facilities and J&D Campground near the park have both been noted as places where riders can rest.
But the need - including for a hotel - has been expressed by riding organizations that have used the park over the past few years. For example, Jeep Jamboree USA members had to drive back and forth some 20 miles to the Country Inn and Suites along Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County, and members commented they wish they had a place that's closer.
More recently, Backes said hotels in the Selinsgrove and Danville areas have inquired about advertising with the AOAA, which has developed various levels of sponsorship that buy website ads and brochure placement at the welcome center.
In April 2013, PENNVEST cited the potential for a hotel because of the AOAA when it awarded a $4 million grant/low-interest loan to Zerbe Township for a new sewage treatment plant. A western entrance to the park near Trevorton is a future possibility.
Backes said he thinks the area needs a hotel, not necessarily at the trailhead and not just because of the AOAA. But the park does add to the need that already exists because of industries such as Reinhart FoodService and attractions such as Knoebels.
"I think the synergy of everything creates the need," he said.