BRADYS BEND – A company that owns a growing all-terrain vehicle park in Lawrence County was awarded a grant last week to study a Bradys Bend Township property to see if it’s feasible to transform it into an ATV park.
Mines and Meadows LLC, which operates the ATV park and campground in Wampum, Lawrence County, near Ellwood City, was awarded $154,600 through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
According to a press release from the state, the funding will be used to conduct a trail study for the development of a 1,700-acre site in Bradys Bend Township, as well as to further develop the campground at the company’s Wampum ATV park.
“We see a need to expand,” Mines and Meadows owner/managing member Jarett Svihra said on Friday. He explained that the Lawrence County ATV Park is in its 11th season and has experienced a boom in the number of riders the past several years.
“Locally, there’s just not lots of places to ride ATVs,” he said, pointing out that the introduction of side-by-side all-terrain vehicles opened the door to many more ATV enthusiasts looking for a place to ride. “It’s a growing trend everywhere.”
With exponential growth in the number of riders at the Lawrence County ATV Park, Svihra said the company is looking for another location since the Wampum site does not have a way to expand its existing 900 acres.
“It’s a good problem to have,” he said, but said he doesn’t want to see the original park become overcrowded.
Founded by his father, the park offers a unique feature, Svihra explained — it takes riders through an old limestone mine.
He said that while he has a letter of intent with the landowners of the 1,700-acre property in Bradys Bend Township, he can’t disclose the owner’s name or the location of the property just yet. He said his company also has received support letters from local and county officials for the project.
“This is definitely still in the preliminary stages,” Svihra said, adding that he hopes to have the feasibility study completed by this fall so that his company can submit applications for other grants to help build out the property. He noted that the existing park has taken a decade or more to build, and that it could be a slow process for the Bradys Bend site.
“We’re going to tread cautiously,” he said.
Svihra, who said he has been in the oil and gas business, as well as other ventures, explained that ATV parks aren’t big money makers, at least not early on in their existence.
“You have to have a passion for this,” he said, pointing to his father’s passion. “I owe it to my father to see what I can make of this place.”
Svihra said that the possibility of the Bradys Bend land was brought to him, and that he sees the area as offering great potential to attract visitors and local ATV enthusiasts. With the boating already established on the Allegheny River, he said the ATV park would add to the local “playground of amenities.”
“I know how beautiful that area is,” he said.
If it moves forward, Svihra said the Bradys Bend park could also one day include a campground and possibly rental cabins. He said it would offer riders trails of varying skill levels, similar to a ski resort.
“We’re building for the future,” he said.
When reached for comment, Bradys Bend Township officials said they were aware of the grant and very excited about the possibilities for development. However, they noted that they did not have many details yet about the plan.
The grant awarded to Mines and Meadows was one of three state grants announced last week, totaling $425,700.
Other grants included $185,100 for the development of Round Top Park in Bradford County, and $86,000 to purchase equipment to construct and mutant 140 miles of off-highway vehicle trails in Cambria and Indiana counties.
The funding is provided through ATV registrations.
“Using these funds from ATV riders when they register their vehicles, these grants will help improve riding opportunities,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “ATV trails draw visitors and can have a positive economic impact on nearby communities.”