AOAA looks toward bright future at final meeting of 2013
SHAMOKIN - At their final meeting for 2013, members of the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area Authority spoke with optimism for the upcoming inaugural season for the proposed recreation area.
"We had a great year with everything that we have accomplished as our first year as an authority," chairman Jim Backes said at Monday's meeting. "In January, we were setting up authority by-laws and regulations. We've had a great year, but 2014 will be even better."
Backes said a lot of work still needs to be done on mapping and signage on the 6,500-acre site, and hiring staff. For the next meeting, he will create a full list of priorities for the AOAA in 2014 to review.
The five-member board, in planning for a 2014 opening, worked toward establishing the rates for passes to the park, giving county residents a discount up to 30 percent.
"We have had a number of requests and inquiries about group discounts, but right now, with this being our first year, we have to see what our costs are and we have to try to break even at least. Depending on how we do, we would revisit that issue next year," Backes said.
The 2014 rate card was approved on a 5-0 vote with Backes, Dave Crowl, Pat Mack, Barry Yorwarth and Mike Schwartz's support.
The board also approved policies that govern how new trails could be formed and existing trails are maintained.
For existing trails, if they are in need of maintenance, they will be logged onto a list. As time, equipment and man power become available, items listed in the trail maintenance log will be addressed.
All normal trail maintenance will require the use of hand tools, and chainsaws will only be used to clear downfalls across the trail, dangerous trees or limbs overhanging. No trail can be widened or changed, and no trees over five inches in diameter at chest height will be cut.
If volunteers want to do the work, one person will be identified as a team leader and be the point of contact for the authority. All volunteers must sign a waiver of liability.
The new trail policy gives the authority more say on what the trail will be used for and requires more checks, including GPS tracking, a complete walk through and approval from the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Northumberland County Conservation District.
Payments for work on the AOAA trail head project were approved for the following firms:
- Paul Risk Associates, of Quarryville, $174,775.
- Shannon A. Smith, of Myerstown, $11,591.90.
- Kreco Electric, Inc., of Coal Township, $21,607.44.
Change orders were also approved for $1,773.66 and $1,320 to Kreco Electric for additional costs to provide 14 pole light fixture arms and wiring for garage door openers and wiring and receptacles for a back-up digital video recorder; and $22,890 to Paul Risk Associates, for costs of excavation and backfill from the transformer to an electric pole, to supply electricity to the AOAA trail head building.
Monday's meeting also marked the authority's last meeting at the Northumberland County Career and Arts Center. Starting Jan. 16, all board meetings will be held at the trail head.