SUNBURY - Northumberland County commissioners received an early Christmas present Tuesday in the form of a $20,000 Yamaha Off-Highway Vehicle Access Initiative Grant for trail development, mapping and signage in the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA).

A ceremonial check was presented to Commissioners Frank Sawicki, Vinny Clausi and Merle Phillips by Yamaha Motor Corporation USA representatives Kevin DeCew and Eric Miller, and Jim Keister of local Yamaha dealer Xtreme Power Sports of Selinsgrove.

Pat Mack, county planning director, introduced DeCew, who told the commissioners Yamaha Motor Corporation was happy to provide the grant money to the county to show its support for the proposed Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area on 6,500 acres of county-owned land in Coal, Zerbe, East Cameron, West Cameron and Mount Carmel townships.

The grant was awarded to promote safe, responsible riding and open sustainable riding areas.

In a press release issued to the media, Steve Nessl, Yamaha's ATV/SxS marketing manager, stated, "Yamaha is happy to partner with Northumberland County in its effort to repurpose its land resources to create a destination for OHV enthusiasts from across the region. This is a great example of how Yamaha's OHV Access Initiative is helping to make responsible projects such as the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area a reality by providing more riding areas as well as long-term support for the local economy."

Kathy Jeremiah, AOAA project coordinator, added, "This off-highway vehicle project is a method to assist in economic development for an area that is economically disadvantaged due to poor road networks through major cities. The AOAA makes that an economic strength because of the desire of OHV enthusiasts to 'play' in that type terrain. This project will be an economic engine to provide jobs, not only at the AOAA, but through expanding existing businesses and also new service-related businesses."

Jeremiah said the intent of the program is to bring fresh, new money into Northumberland County on a regular basis.

She said, "Yamaha's grant is a great example of what can come with a project like this, and people that enjoy this type of recreation."