SHAMOKIN - In the last month, new trails have been cut and land cleared as part of the eventual opening of the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA).

The AOAA Authority announced Tuesday night at their regularly monthly meeting that 2.7 miles of trails has been cut to accommodate the upcoming season and 3.7 acres of land has been cleared for the trailhead construction project.

Authority member Barry Yarworth explained that some vehicles had used the new trail, but additional work needs to be done them in order to have them completely ready for use by early June, which is when the first Jeep Jamboree USA event is being held.

He also explained that all trees were removed from the trailhead by Dan Bordner Logging, who provided a $103.02 check to the authority for the collection of pine chips.

The trailhead, which will be off Route 125 south of Burnside, will have an administrative building with an office, conference room and three maintenance garages. There will be 75 parking places on a paved lot and 180 spaces on a gravel lot, with additional overflow parking. Additional details include an area for an ATV safety course, benches, lights and signs.

The authority approved Steve Barber, Dave Yeck, Jim Groninger and Steve Bottiger to the operations, facility management and personnel committee chaired by Yarworth, and Thelma Amarose and Tom Schaeffer to the marketing, events, grants and fundraising committee chaired by Pat Mack.

Mack also said he expects to appoint a News-Item employee to his committee at the next meeting in May.

As expected, the members passed two motions to apply for grants from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), one to develop a non-motorized trailhead located approximately 3/4-mile east of the initial trailhead off Route 125 and the other to construct a rain garden to deal with vehicle runoff.

The authority also announced they will begin prosecuting anyone who illegally cuts down trees within the 6,500 acres on county-owned forest and coal lands in Coal, East Cameron, Mount Carmel, West Cameron and Zerbe townships.

In other business, the authority approved:

- A benefit ride for Geisinger Childrens Miracle Network on Sept. 14 coordinated by the ATR club.

- The following events: Ocean County, N.J. Dirt Devils 4-H Club ride on May 18 and 19; JK Owners/JK Adventure Group ride on July 20; and Lehigh Valley Trailriders ride on either May 5 or June 27.

- Northumberland County Career and Technology Center to build additional gates for the authority at a cost not to exceed $750 in materials including paint supplies.