for Immediate Release
Corbett Promotes Tourism with Visit to Elk Country Visitor Center in
Township, Elk County – Governor Tom Corbett visited the Elk Country Visitor
Center in Elk County last night to highlight the Pennsylvania Wilds as a top
destination for travelers and mark 100 years since elk were reintroduced into
tourist destinations like the Elk Country Visitor Center support Pennsylvania’s
tourism industry and help create and sustain local jobs,” Corbett said.
“Attendance at the center has grown to 200,000 tourists annually, each spending
money and supporting local small businesses.”
The Elk Country Visitor Center is nestled on
245-acres owned by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)
in Benezette. The
non-profit Keystone Elk Country Alliance (KECA), a
Pennsylvania-based wildlife conservation organization, operates the center
using money raised from the private sector.
were hunted to extinction in the late 1800s; in 1913, the Pennsylvania Game
Commission began an effort to improve habitat and reintroduce them. Pennsylvania’s
elk herd now contains more than 800 animals – the largest elk herd in the
northeastern United States.
these magnificent elk in their natural habitat is a truly amazing experience,”
Corbett said. “We are fortunate to have a vast state with an abundance of outdoor
tourism and wildlife watching opportunities.”
Fall is the peak season for viewing elk in the Pennsylvania
Wilds because the mating season, or “rut,” occurs, and bugling bulls can be
heard throughout elk country.
The center, however, is open year round and includes
a 4-D story theater with special
effects that explore the sight, smells and sounds of the area; interactive
and interpretive exhibits; wildlife trails and viewing areas; wagon rides;
year-round restrooms; and parking for cars, RVs and buses.
currently is finalizing a 35-year agreement with the Keystone Elk Country
Alliance, which has doubled its staff over the past several years.
"At the Elk Country Visitor Center we provide
a clear, consistent conservation education message and a quality elk viewing
experience,” KECA President and CEO Rawley Cogan said. “Our business partners
provide the amenities our guests need, such as great food and lodging, so that
together we deliver the highest quality Pennsylvania elk country
jobs were created to operate the center. Its gift shop provides more than 60
small local vendors and artisans with a new market opportunity. The number of
lodging establishments near the center has almost doubled; three wineries have
popped up – all with an elk theme; and local stores and restaurants are
Accompanying the governor during his visit today
were representatives of the newly established Benezette Wines and Wapiti Woods,
which will be expanding its guest cabin and lodging business in Benezette
Township from six to 10 cabins creating three new jobs.
more information about the Elk Country Visitor Center, visit www.ElkCountryVisitorCenter.com
or call 814-787-5167.
learn more about the Keystone Elk Country Alliance, go to www.experienceelkcountry.com.
Christine Cronkright, Governor’s Press
Christina Novak, DCNR, 717-772-9101