for Immediate Release
Corbett Signs Long-Term Agreement for Public/Private Partnership at Elk Country
Visitor Center in Pennsylvania Wilds
Tom Corbett signed a 35-year agreement with the non-profit Keystone Elk Country
Alliance (KECA) for operation of Elk Country Visitor Center in Elk County,
cementing a public/private partnership that was begun before the center first
opened in 2010.
The Elk Country Visitor Center is nestled on
245-acres owned by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)
in Benezette. KECA, a Pennsylvania-based wildlife conservation organization, operates the
center without state funding. KECA
raises operational revenue through services such as gift shop sales, theater
tickets, wagon and sleigh rides and other special events.
is a great partnership between government and a non-profit organization to
continue to improve and expand the resources and services that DCNR provides to
our citizens, and ensure a quality visitor experience at the Elk Country
Visitor Center,” Corbett said. “Our
relationship with KECA is a true success story, as together, we have been able
to improve wildlife habitat, educate the public about conservation, support tourism
and create local jobs.”
The center 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 and sleigh rides;
educational programming; and parking for cars, RVs and buses.
Keystone Elk Country Alliance is pleased and proud to partner with the
Commonwealth to operate this world-class destination,” said Rawley Cogan, CEO
Keystone Elk Country Alliance. “KECA’s educational and stewardship programs
provide a clear and consistent conservation message and continue to attract
more and more guests to Pennsylvania’s Elk Country. Local businesses continue to expand and
create new jobs that fuel economic development in the region.”
new agreement requires a significant capital investment by KECA, which has
begun construction of an outdoor classroom to accommodate more educational
programs and special events at the center.
Gov. Corbett visited the center in the fall,
at the center has grown to 350,000 tourists annually, each spending money and
supporting local small businesses.”
jobs were created by KECA to operate the elk 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 opened – all with an elk theme; and local stores and restaurants
Pennsylvania’s elk herd currently numbers more than
800 animals – the largest elk herd in the northeastern United States.
more information about the Elk Country Visitor Center, visit www.ElkCountryVisitorCenter.com
or call 814-787-5167. To learn more about the Keystone Elk Country Alliance, go
For more information about DCNR visit the website at www.dcnr.state.pa.us.
Caras, Governor’s Office; 717-783-1116
Novak, DCNR; 717-772-9101