AOAA takes in more than $12,000
BURNSIDE - The Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) took in more than $12,000 during its opening weekend.
The sum represents more than 12 percent of the $100,000 authority board members hoped the park would generate in 2014. There are 37 weekends remaining to earn the rest. Revenue opportunities would expand should the authority choose to add additional operating hours.
There were 173 passes sold Saturday, the park's public debut. That was followed on Sunday with the sale of 101 passes, and many of Sunday's customers were new.
Two different groups of riders came after visiting Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg.
In all, visitors to the AOAA from Pennsylvania were joined by others from four different states. About 50 volunteers helped them get registered and acclimated to the new ATV park.
According to Jim Backes, authority board chairman, many of the weekend's customers said they'd be returning.
"We're really happy with that. A lot of the people said they'll be coming to the area this weekend," Backes said of upcoming Memorial Day Weekend. The AOAA will open again Saturday and Sunday. It will also be open Monday for the holiday.
The AOAA is a 6,500-acre area that crosses into five different townships and has more than 300 miles of trails. Visitors are granted full access to the park east of Route 125. An agreement with a private landowner allowing the same on the west hasn't yet been struck; however, guided tours continue on the west.
Visitors said they were impressed by the varied terrain: rocky trails, hills, sand and coal ash, puddles and long straightaways.
Backes said the authority took the advice of visitors who on Saturday said improvements in trail markings were needed. The AOAA volunteers did just that Sunday by posting additional signs. More emphasis was placed on clearer explanations of the trails and larger maps were distributed.
There were no reported crashes or other incidents Sunday, Backes said.