HARRISBURG – House Bill 2169, legislation authored by State Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) that reauthorizes the Special Elk License Auction program and grants an additional tag for auction or raffle by the Keystone Elk Country Alliance (KECA), is moving through the General Assembly following unanimous passage. The bill, which passed the House by a vote of 201-0, may now be considered by the state Senate.
“My bill will allow an approved wildlife conservation organization to annually auction off an elk license in partnership with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, a practice that has taken place each of the past five years,” Gabler said. “The auction would also serve as a fundraiser to support the great wildlife conservation work done by that organization.”
Gabler’s legislation improves the program by creating a second special tag to be auctioned or raffled by KECA, the non-profit organization that manages the Elk Country Visitors’ Center in Benezette.
“Since opening four years ago, the Elk Country Visitors’ Center has become an extremely popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from throughout the country and around the world,” added Gabler. “I have spoken with colleagues throughout the state who have had school groups, families and friends visit the center in Benezette. KECA does a tremendous job educating the public not only about elk, but about conservation and our rural heritage in the Pennsylvania Wilds.”
Additionally, the legislation contains provisions requiring the Pennsylvania Game Commission to move its annual elk hunting license lottery drawing from commission headquarters in Harrisburg to the Elk Country Visitors’ Center in Benezette. It also ensures at least one resident of the Elk Management Area receives an elk hunting license each year.
“This bill will certainly help ensure that KECA can continue to offer the best possible experience and educational opportunities to visitors of Pennsylvania’s Elk Range for years to come, said Rawley Cogan, president and chief executive officer of KECA said. “We are very glad that the House has shown its their support for our mission by passing this important bill.”
Questions about this or any legislative issue should be directed to Gabler’s DuBois office at 814-375-4688 or his St. Marys office at 814-781-6301.