COAL TOWNSHIP - Hot off the heels of the Northumberland County commissioners taking the first steps to officially establish the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) Tuesday, the AOAA was the site of a public event Saturday.

Geisinger Health Systems, sponsoring a "helmet and goggles" program for youths, paid three Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) ATV instructors to show participants how to safely operate their off-road equipment. The helmets and goggles were provided to children at no cost.

Instructors Terry Ketchem, Dave Crowl and Jimmy Backes showed the young riders how to climb and maneuver on small hills and how to properly turn a vehicle, stressing the importance of wearing proper safety gear. Children who participated live in the area, including Shamokin, Sunbury and Mount Carmel.

The event occurred near the proposed main entrance to the park, off Route 125 south of Burnside. The same area will also be the site of two more public events within the next several weeks.

Muddy Miner

At 8 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 30, a 4 1/2-mile "Muddy Miner Race" will be held at the main entrance.

All proceeds will go to the Correctional Peace Officers (CPO) Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization created in 1984 to preserve and support the surviving families of correctional officers who lost their lives while serving in prisons or jails.

Registration for the event is $25.

ATR ride

On Sunday, Oct. 7, the Anthracite Trail Riders (ATR) and the AOAA will sponsor a 25-mile trail ride to benefit Children's Miracle Network at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville.

ATR is a local ATV club that formed last year in response to the AOAA. In April, the group conducted a cleanup in the Whaleback area, extracting a Dumpster's worth of debris and garbage.

All participants are required to wear a securely fastened helmet with eye protection, proper clothing and foot attire during the trail ride. Safety restraints in a side-by-side shall be securely fastened and under the supervision of a parent or guardian. People under the age of 16 are not permitted to operate an ATV unless they have completed an ATV Safety Training Course. No one under the age of 12 can operate a machine.

The registration fees are $15 for operators, and $10 for passengers. ATV, UTV and dirt bike operators are invited to take part in the ride. Registration will be held from 9 to 11 a.m.

For more information on both events go to http://www.anthraciteadventure.com/pages/Events.aspx