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Pennsylvania's outdoor adventure area wows DCNR official

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By The News-item, Shamokin
Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, 4:30 p.m.
 

BURNSIDE — “Wow.”

That was the first word out of the mouth of Richard D. Allan when asked about his first visit to the proposed Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area.

“It's amazing. Absolutely amazing,” said Allan, secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, after his tour — via a Hummer — on Friday morning.

“I've never done anything like this before, and it was very exciting. I can see why it's going to be a draw for people to enjoy. This is a tourist destination.”

Allan visited the area with state Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia County, and Rep. Kurt Masser, R-Columbia County, who toured with The Hummer Club Inc.

“That was the biggest surprise to me, how well these vehicles handle this terrain,” Allan said about the Hummers, noting they were at times nearly perpendicular to the ground. “That's why they come here, for that enjoyment to be able to ride on such steep inclines.”

Allan said he is impressed with how Northumberland County has planned the adventure area, an off-road and recreational park being developed on 6,500 acres of county-owned forest and coal lands in Coal, East Cameron, Mt. Carmel, West Cameron and Zerbe townships.

DCNR has been very helpful in the creation of the park, Allan said.

“They've got a very good business model worked out here,” he said. “We've helped them out with the initial feasibility study, but, locally, there are people that have been involved with getting this off the ground for a dozen years.”

The secretary acknowledged there has been opposition to the park. Many complaints involve those who have ridden on the land for free for decades, and will now have to pay for access. Others are concerned about hunting being restricted.

A newly formed authority board, which begins operation in the new year, would operate the park.

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