NANTICOKE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Could a 10,000-acre mine-scarred chunk of land in Luzerne County become this area’s next popular recreation park?
A land-reclamation group says “yes.”
The feasibility study encompasses about 10,000 acres. Earth Conservancy reviewed it during a public meeting at Luzerne County Community College Wednesday evening.
They say benefits include a safe and legal ATV riding space, environmental protections and economic gains.
Non-profit land reclamation organization Earth Conservancy believes it has a vision for the thousands of acres of land west of Nanticoke. Large sections of the area are mine-scarred.
But it claims there’s a lot of potential for a multi-use recreation park. At the public meeting on Wednesday, they hoped locals would see it too.
“Not only ATV riding, but hiking, rock climbing, paintballs riflery, shooting ranges. It’s something that could really expand,” Earth Conservancy president/CEO Terrence Ostrowski said.
The area includes land in Newport Township and surrounds Glen Lyon. Ostrowski, says the proposed attraction will boost the local economy, while preserving the land and its resources like rock-climbing locations.
“Those areas are going to just disappear off the landscape if we don’t provide structure, provide infrastructure and organization for people to use them responsibly and safely,” Joe Forte of Eastern PA Alliance of Climbers said.
Most locals see the good this will do for their communities. Still, some residents of Glen Lyon have reservations
“I think access points have to be as far away from populated areas as possible and introduce people slowly into the trail systems so it’s least intrusive to the community,” Katherine Pohlidal of Glen Lyon said.
Some say they fear the alternative: what would happen to the land if it’s not preserved, knowing it’s being eyed up for industrial use.
“Certainly I think Glen Lyon needs a lot of help and this could benefit the area but let’s do it smart,” Pohlidal said.
Earth Conservancy will take the public input from Wednesday and put together a final report and plan for development. Right now, the land is owned by Earth Conservancy, PA DCNR and some private owners. They still have to figure out who will own and operate the park.
The feasibility study is funded by a grant from the DCNR. The plan is being prepared by Laird La, a landscape architecture firm from Manheim, PA.