SHAMOKIN - The first meeting of the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) Authority will be held tonight at the Northumberland County Career and Arts Center, 2 E. Arch St.

Barry Yorwarth, one of five members, said the meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Room 203 on the main floor, across the hall from the auditorium.

The authority also consists of Patrick Mack, county planning and industrial development director; Michael Schwartz, a local bank official and chairman of the Zerbe Township Board of Supervisors; James Backes, director of operations for GDK Development Inc., and David L. Crowl, a longtime contractor and state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) volunteer.

The main order of business will be to nominate and elect a chairman, vice chairman, secretary and treasurer, to select a solicitor and to adopt the bylaws of the authority, Yorwarth said.

Although their appointments to the board took effect Jan. 1, Yorwarth said they cannot legally do any business or vote on anything until they organize the board.

"This make us legitimate," he said.

Each member will also be appointed to chair one of the following committees: conservation and trail development; operations, facility management and personnel; marketing, events, grants and fundraising, and safety, security, rules and regulations.

The board members may discuss fees or safety regulations associated with the park, Yorwarth said.

He said the board welcomes input from the public.

"We want people there. I would expect it," he said.

For Yorwarth, who was the 2012 recipient of the National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) Perseverance Award, the first meeting validates the long process of bringing the park to fruition.

He said the off-road community nationwide has been watching this project, and they are excited for it to officially open, although no date has been set.

"I've put so much work into this," he said. "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. You keep gnawing away at it."

The AOAA, which attracted riders from across the nation for several major events in 2012, is an off-road and recreation park being developed on 6,500 acres of county-owned forest and coal lands in Coal, East Cameron, Mount Carmel, West Cameron and Zerbe townships.

Other authority meetings are scheduled for Feb. 19, March 19, April 16, April 30, May 21, June 18, July 15, Aug. 19, Sept. 16, Oct. 21, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16.