Blighted Land Gets 500 Trees

COAL TOWNSHIP -- When people think of the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area near Shamokin, off-roading typically comes to mind. But now there is more to do than ride ATVs.

"It's become a place for people to see. You just can't imagine all the thousands of people who drive around," Dr. Blair Carbaugh said.

This 100-acre section of the park is now a conservation area, featuring 500 chestnut trees. The trees were all planted within a year. They finished planting them in 2014. The trees have been growing ever since. People can't ride ATVs through the trees, but there is plenty of space to admire them. The spot is named after Dr. Blair Carbaugh, who is behind the tree-planting project.

"I wanted to plant some up here after I saw this mess," Dr. Carbaugh said.

The Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area is built on abandoned coal mining land.

"It really was just like boulders, rocks everywhere. Navigating the terrain, getting the material in and out, that really elevated the difficulty of doing the planting," Sara Fitzsimmons said.

"Cleaning up the illegal dumps, the water and just turn the area back to the way it was before the mining ravaged the area," David Crowl said.

Since the trees were planted in what officials call a highly degraded area, the goal is to make blighted land beautiful. Chestnut trees used to be abundant in Pennsylvania, but were decimated by disease.

"The trees that we're planting here are genetically altered so they are resistant to the blight," Crowl said.

The Dr. Blair Carbaugh Conservation Area already has plans to expand. Carbaugh says they plan to plant even more chestnut trees on the property sometime next year.


  • William Brasky

    Well done Dr. Carbaugh! This area needs to be positive and have a better outlook. There’s a very bright future ahead for the AOAA and it’s many partners.

  • straubdavid9

    Hmmm ……. before the AOAA was even a blister on someone’s backside, Habitat for Wildlife had planted 10s of thousands of trees and shrubs on County property, put on major clean-up events, was instrumental in bringing attention to State and Federal agencies about major mining hazards, as well as severe trash (household and commercial) dumping to say the least. Habitat for Wildlife was also at the forefront of identifying critical habit areas during the initial planning phases for the AOAA …….. WHICH HAVE BEEN TOTALLY IGNORED, with ATV trails running all through said habitat!! Good luck to Mr. Carbaugh (a job well done I might add) but if history is any indication …… your chestnut planting area will be a future obstacle course for 4-wheelers! Ask me how I know ……. lots of first hand experience ….. been there – done that!

  • MMMM

    Here we go again! Near Shamokin! Just say it’s in Coal Township! And the taxpayers that own that land have to pay to use it!

  • David Kaleta

    Are you serous? Don’t get me wrong Blair is a great guy but getting a place named for planting 500 trees, when Habitat for Wildlife planted 45,000, yes thousands, gets the hose.
    Dr. Blair Carbaugh Conservation Area

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