Elk Celebration Enters Final Weekend

BENEZETTE – Any time is a good time to visit Pennsylvania’s elk range, but this weekend is the last chance to take part in the special events commemorating the 100th anniversary of elk restoration in Pennsylvania.

Three opportunities remain to catch Van Wagner’s popular audio and visual performance celebrating elk and their remarkable comeback.

Wagner, an award-winning educator and musician, performs original songs as part of a multimedia performance that tells the story of elk in Pennsylvania, and the elk’s role in state history. His performances this weekend are scheduled to be held at the Dent’s Run Elk Viewing Area pavilion along Winslow Hill Road, about 2 miles north of Benezette off Route 555.

Wagner’s 1 p.m. show on Saturday will be followed on Sunday with a 3 p.m. show, and on Monday with a 1 p.m. show.

Those attending also have a chance to win a $25 Woolrich gift card.

Other events this weekend include a Sunday driving tour of State Game Lands 311, with several learning stations along the way. The tour is scheduled to be held from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and will start at the game lands gate at the end of Dewey Road, on Winslow Hill. For more information about the tour, contact the Game Commission’s Northcentral Region Office at 570-398-4744.

Also, on Friday at 1 p.m., Eric Perlock, an elk biologist aide from the Game Commission will present a program at the Dent’s Run pavilion.

The corral trap used in a trap-and-transfer program that more than doubled the elk’s range in Pennsylvania also will be on display and, as always, there’s plenty to see and do at the Elk Country Visitor Center.

For a more detailed schedule of events, visit the Game Commission’s website at www.pgc.state.pa.us.

Elk have a long history in Pennsylvania, and they once ranged throughout the state. But as more of Pennsylvania was settled, the elk’s range here grew smaller and elk numbers declined as well. By the late 1860s, elk were eliminated from their last stronghold in the northcentral part of the state.

And they were gone from Pennsylvania for about 50 years when the Game Commission launched an effort to restore them.

Today, Pennsylvania’s elk herd comprises about 850 animals in parts of Elk, Cameron, Clearfield, Clinton and Potter counties, and the elk’s fall bugling season attracts tourists from miles around.

While that season is beginning to wind down, the elk continue their period of heightened autumn activity and present many special viewing opportunities for those who make the trip. Bugles continue to sound on the range.

And for one last weekend, the celebration of Pennsylvania elk continues.

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