Success of OHV parks detailed at workshop
PAXINOS - Presenters at Monday's Northumberland County OHV Recreation Management Workshop didn't discuss many details about the Anthracite Outdoor Recreation Area planned for the southeastern end of the county.
What was discussed, however, was an off-road industry that has made many such parks throughout the country a success.
The county hosted the workshop, conducted by the Pennsylvania Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Association, in cooperation with the National OHV Conservation Council (NOHVCC), at Masser's Banquet Hall through the morning and much of the afternoon. The workshop was held to improve the development, planning, design, construction, maintenance and management of sustainable OHV trail areas, facilities and systems for the park, which is planned within 6,000 acres of county-owned land in Zerbe, Coal, West Cameron, East Cameron and Mount Carmel townships.
Tom Crimmins, a OHV trails consultant, Russ Ehnes, executive director for NOHVCC, and Jack Terrell, senior project coordinator for NOHVCC, spoke to approximately 40 attendees that included county officials and representatives from the Department of Conservation of Natural Resources (DCNR) and Motorcycle Industry Council.
Topics discussed included what OHV enthusiasts generally look for in a trail system and how those developing a park can provide those needs in an environmentally, politically and financially sustainable way.
Examples of land acquisitions and development, economic studies and the current state of parks, served as examples of how a park can be a success despite a grueling economy.
"I am really excited to come to a location like this where a local community recognizes the opportunity they have and are so proud their history and heritage," said Ehnes. "It's great to see a place that's ready to step up and do great things with what they have."
Ehnes said there will always be a concern on the part of local people that things will change. Ehnes noted, however, that if the right principals are applied by those developing the park, the area will not only improve environmentally, but also economically.
"That's the key. To have something long-term that can provide this community and its residents a great place to play, but also a place to bring outside folks in here and spend their money," said Ehnes. "The groups that will succeed, like this community, are the ones that recognize when they have a opportunity to do something outside of the box."
The second of three input sessions will be held tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Shamokin Area Middle-High School auditorium.
Consultants from Pashek Associates will present a summary of economic development projections from similar facilities, review a draft of the proposed concept plan for the facility, discuss potential park operations and the life safety management system, discuss potential rules, present recommendations regarding the proposed hunting policy for the property and summarize research findings on fee structures of similar areas.
In addition, economic data and concept maps will be presented, and there will be an information session to allow the public to ask questions and provide comments and suggestions to the consultants and project study committee.