Game Commission and KECA Partner To Benefit Elk, Wildlife

JERSEY SHORE – Pennsylvania Game Commission Northcentral Region Director Dennis Dusza has announced the Keystone Elk Country Alliance (KECA), which operates the Elk Country Visitor Center near Benezette, Elk County, recently donated $20,000 to the Game Commission for elk habitat work.

“With the donated funds, we purchased a new 15-foot Brush Hog mower to be used mainly on State Game Land 311, which is in the heart of the elk range,” Dusza stated.

Formed in December 2009, KECA works closely with regional school districts, the Game Commission, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, its partners and regional and local communities to operate the Elk Country Visitor Center as a tourist destination.

“KECA is a non-profit 501(c) (3) wildlife conservation organization that focuses on conservation education and habitat enhancements in Pennsylvania’s elk country,” said Rawley Cogan, KECA President.  “Through fundraising banquets, KECA’s membership generously and graciously contributes and strongly supports wildlife habitat enhancement projects.

“When we approached the Game Commission and asked what their greatest elk habitat improvement needs were, they told us that they needed a mower, so we purchased it and provided it to the them.”

Elk/McKean Counties Land Management Group Supervisor John Dzeyman said the new mower should reduce the mowing time of the Food and Cover Corps crews.

“Our crews mow between 275 to 300 acres of State Game Lands 311,” Dzemyan said “The reason it is so important to mow these areas is that it returns the grasses to a lush state and also keeps the underlying clover from dying out, and the elk like the lush, green vegetation.  Also, by improving elk habitat on public lands, we hope to decrease elk conflicts for private landowners.”

State Game Land 311 consists of 3,652 acres and was purchased by the Game Commission in cooperation with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to be managed for elk and all other wildlife species of this area.

“The funds KECA donated for us to purchase this needed piece of equipment was greatly appreciated and will provide our crews the ability to more efficiently improve habitat for elk on public lands,” Dusza said.

For more information about KECA, visit www.ExperienceElkCountry.com.

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