Timeline of events for AOAA
March: Public mention of an off-highway vehicle (OHV) park on forest and abandoned coal land owned by Northumberland County is reported for the first time.
January: County receives $200,000 grant from Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to conduct a feasibility study.
March: With government boards in the five effected municipalities - Coal, East Cameron, Mount Carmel, West Cameron and Zerbe townships - having passed resolutions supporting the idea, county begins evaluating master plan proposals.
March: Noting some states are closing OHV trails, National Off-Road Association and Jeep Jamboree USA (JJUSA) praise county effort.
April: Commissioners award $239,885 contract to Pashek Associates to complete master plan; $200,000 DCNR grant pays bulk of cost.
July: First meeting to gather public input held.
August: Habitat for Wildlife says it supports park but believes hunting and conservation communities need more representation. Others continue to question why they'll have to pay to access land they've used for free for years.
October: Second public meeting is held. Known to this point as the Northumberland County Off-Highway Vehicle Park, a new name is given as the Anthracite Outdoor Recreation Area; later this month, the current name is reported. County hosts two-day workshop by Pennsylvania Off-Highway Vehicle Association and National OHV Conservation Council to gather input on park development. DCNR awards $400,000 grant.
June: County receives $20,000 grant from Yamaha Corp. Representatives from Kawasaki and 16 OHV and outdoor magazines praise park idea as they use the land for testing, reviews.
July: Third and final public meeting is held. County receives $300,000 from federal Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for construction of entry road.
December: County learns it will receive a $1.5 million grant from DCNR for the park, the largest of 218 conservation and recreation grants awarded statewide.
May: Two state agencies come to defense of AOAA over a dispute about trail development; however, game commission scolds county for doing some work ahead of required studies.
June: County and Geisinger Medical Center's Child Advocacy Center team up on use of state grant to purchase 67 ATV helmets for use by children at park.
August: More than 200 people and 109 vehicles from 18 states participate in Coal Mountain Jeep Jamboree.
September: Commissioners pass resolution to create authority to manage and operate the AOAA.
October: Commissioners appoint five-member AOAA Authority board. Responding to a controversy regarding access to AOAA land, commissioners approve a policy barring public from the property. County decides hunting won't be allowed year-round on 342-acre Alaska site as originally proposed, although they say decision could change.
January: Authority board meets for first time; 100 people attend.
February: Authority announces plans to construct welcome center this year.
March: Reading Anthracite says it may be interested in using its land to expand the AOAA. Twenty-five people are named to authority committees.
April: North Jersey Jeep Club (NJJC) members ride at AOAA for two days; on a different weekend, 70 riders from Pennsylvania and New Jersey visit with ATVingPa.com. PENNVEST cites potential for a hotel because of AOAA in awarding a $4 million grant/low-interest loan to Zerbe Township for a new sewage treatment plant.
May: Authority awards $1.6 million in contracts for construction of welcome center. Some 400 riders take part in Valley Forge Trail Riders' hare scramble, second year the event is held at the AOAA.
June: Registration for first of two JJUSA events in 2013 held in downtown Shamokin to create interaction between visitors, businesses and residents. Planned opening of park for public ride is delayed, but a new date is being considered.
June 21: Ground is broken for welcome center.
Sept. 13: Approximately 300 riders participated in the second annual Anthracite Trail Riders (ATR) trail ride benefitting the Children's Miracle Network at Geisinger Medical Center.
Sept. 21: ATR, a private, independently-insured group, began selling passes good until the end of 2013 for AOAA lands.
Nov. 21: The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved $575,000 in grants through the Marcellus Legacy Funds, with $353,000 for stream improvements to Carbon Run, including acid mine drainage abatement, and $222,000 for mountain bike trail development.
Dec. 5: AOAA receives $788,000 from DCNR toward the construction of additional parking areas, event areas, picnic areas and trail access.
Dec. 16: The 2014 rate card was approved with a 30 percent discount for locals.
Jan. 16: The first AOAA Authority meeting was held at the trailhead welcome center.
March 17: A resolution was adopted to accept a $250,000 line of credit from Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company. A $2,500 donation from the Northumberland County Conservation District was received and partially allotted for trees.
March 29: The first of two volunteer cleanups are held.
April 26: The Anthracite Trail Riders host a fundraiser ride at the AOAA and donate the proceeds to Coal Township, Shamokin and Zerbe Township to help cover costs of first responders.
May 3: "March on the AOAA Day of Mass Protest" held with only a few attendees.
May 16: Ribbon cutting held. Tours of welcome center and trails given to invited guests.
May 17: Park officially opens for first public guests at 9 a.m.