To the editor: Here's my take on the AOAA and last weekend's hare scramble race.

The local folks are complaining that the park will not bring money or help the economy in the area. Well, I'm a local resident of the Shamokin Coal Township area - have been all my life. I was born and raised in Springfield and have lived in Shamokin for the past 22 years.

I spent days, nights and weekends in the mountains and still do, hunting with my son. I had the opportunity to volunteer and help out with the last event. I noticed more than 400 participants, not counting family members, friends and onlookers.

I noticed job-johnnies from Dan Shingara's Enterprises; equipment from Vought's Equipment Rental in Elysburg; people shopping at Weis Markets, Wal-Mart and the Turkey Hills, as well as people staying at Glosser Motor Inn. Wow. And I'm sure there were a few others.

Let's not exclude the fire companies that participated, providing safety. The money donated from the Valley Forge Trail Riders goes right back into the community to purchase new life-saving equipment. So they used a little water in the name of safety for the riders; let's be real, people.

Unfortunately, these same rescue agencies are the ones who respond to the situations where people are crashing, getting hurt and getting killed in the mountains on any weekend by the locals who ride. And when that happens, it jeopardizes our local emergency responders, especially at night. I've been an emergency responder for 26 years; I've seen a lot of people hurt out there, as well as killed, and a few were close friends. These are the type of issues we should be worrying about. How many have died this year?

There were a few sightseers who wanted to get in and around the track. A few were a bit distraught and hypertensive, but after talking to them they became more attentive toward the event and wanted to get more familiar and maybe involved in the future. Many of these folks made the trails these racers were riding on - what perfect people to help.

We don't need people starting fights or making threats toward others; we all need to work together. This is something that is not going to happen overnight; it's going to take time.

After the event was over, there was no sign of trash; everything was cleaned up and removed.

Let's make this a success, be proud of the Shamokin-Coal Township area and be proud of what we have to offer. People come from all over the East Coast just to ride in our backyard. Let's say, yes, that park is in MY hometown.

We need to stop pushing opportunity away and give it a chance. What does the area have left to offer otherwise?

In closing, I would like to say nice job by the county commissioners and planning team and great work by the Valley Forge Trail Riders and all those who participated. It was a safe well-organized weekend.

Stephen Jeffery

Shamokin