2007-10-27 / Front Page

EXTRAVAGANT ACCOMMODATIONS

Elaborate Elk Visitors Center being constructed

This is a schematic drawing of the floor plan for the massive elk visitors' center being constructed on Winslow Hill. The Pa. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will collaborate on the building and operating of the 8,500 square foot center. This is a schematic drawing of the floor plan for the massive elk visitors' center being constructed on Winslow Hill. The Pa. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will collaborate on the building and operating of the 8,500 square foot center. A multi-million-dollar tourist center will be built in the heart of Pennsylvania's elk country.

The Pa. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has struck a 30-year deal with Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to build and operate an Elk Visitors Center on Winslow Hill in Elk County.

It will, in turn, boost tourism throughout the elk region, centered in Cameron and Elk counties.

RMEF's Rawley Cogan said the 8,500 sq. ft. center is described as a "world-class facility." It should be open by spring 2009. Among its features will be a theater; gift shop; windows that look out on a range where elk may roam; interactive exhibits; hiking trails; a visual/audio multimedia display and rest rooms.

A former Pa. Game Commission wildlife biologist, Cogan said about 75,000 tourists now visit the elk range annually, figure that will increase in future years. RMEF laid the groundwork for the visitors' center when it purchased a farm on Winslow Hill

Cogan said three full-time employees will supervise operations over a nine-month season. Volunteers will also be recruited. The Pa. Institute for Conservation Education will become involved, using the center as a teaching tool.

DCNR has committed to $5 million. RMEF will provide $2 million up front. An additional $5.6 million will be spent by RMEF for operational expenses over 30 years.

A building contractor is expected to be chosen by the end of the year.

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