PA Governor Rendell Announces New Guide for Wildlife Along Elk Scenic Drive in PA Wilds

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 13 /PRNewswire/ — Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced the availability of a new colorfully detailed adventure guide to 23 points of interest along the Elk Scenic Drive in the heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds. The guide promotes some of Pennsylvania’s most scenic regions, rich with outdoor activities.

“Pennsylvania’s wild elk herd, the largest in the Northeast, brings more than 75,000 visitors to the Pennsylvania Wilds each fall,” said Governor Rendell. “Our guide offers a journey through our natural wonders as visitors seek out the regal elk and other spectacular wildlife in a natural setting. Our new guide and signs will steer people to these unique destinations safely, and they might learn a thing or two about the culture, beauty and history of our state as well.”

The Governor said that while people may be looking for close-to-home activities in an effort to conserve gas, the guide offers travelers a handy reference for convenient and interesting adventures in the heart of the commonwealth. He added that Pennsylvania Wilds is an initiative to encourage the growth of tourism and related businesses based on outdoor experiences in 12 counties in the Northcentral and Northwest regions of the state.

“The Elk Scenic Drive is a tremendous example of how revitalizing communities, attracting tourists, being good stewards of our resources and even good traffic management are cooperating forces,” Governor Rendell said. “Pennsylvania’s century-long commitment to conservation and stewardship has restored our forests and wildlife, and that helps make the Pennsylvania Wilds such a special place and terrific tourist destination.”

The guide outlines a 127-mile corridor passing through Clinton, Clearfield, Centre and Elk counties. Two state scenic byways – Route 144 and Route 120 – are part of the drive, which takes travelers through three state forests and three state game lands. The drive runs along a spectacular loop between I-80′s Penfield Exit 111 and Shoe Exit 147.

In addition to maps and directions, the guide provides write-ups for 23 locations that note the history of the area; natural features; elk viewing areas and wildlife to be on the lookout for; recreational opportunities such as hiking and fishing; and other tidbits of information.

At the Governor’s direction, designation of the Elk Scenic Drive is a cooperative effort of the state departments of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Community and Economic Development (DCED) and Transportation (PennDOT).

Complementing the guide and enhancing the visitor’s experience are 24 new interpretative panels at six newly developed locations and 150 guideposts erected along the drive to keep people on track and point out areas of interest.

Visitors also have the opportunity to interact with the Bugle Corps, a cadre of local volunteers from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and DCNR. They will be on hand at the following viewing areas in four prime areas in the heart of Pennsylvania’s elk range — Hick’s Run, Sinnemahoning State Park, Hoover Farm and Beaver Dam.

These dedicated volunteers will be at the sites on weekends from September to mid-October. They will have spotting scopes, binoculars and materials pertaining to elk and wildlife found at these specific sites, along with additional maps and information about the local area.

The Elk Scenic Drive guides are available at tourist promotion agencies, PennDOT welcome centers, state parks and forests or by calling toll-free (800) 577-2029.

Outlined in the guide are some facts about the area that visitors might not know, such as:

– Elk aren’t the only thing to see – be on the lookout for ospreys,
eagles, beaver, black bear, and many types of birds and butterflies.
– Parker Dam State Park is a great place to start your exploration along
the Elk Scenic drive because it has an array of habitats.
– The best time of day to see elk is the first hour of daylight and the
last hour before dark.
– The Marion Brooks Natural Area was named after a local resident
instrumental in establishing some of the first strip mine reclamation
laws in the state.
– Wykoff Run Natural Area is a great place for bird watching because of a
wide diversity of bird populations.
– A 26-mile equestrian trail is available at Thunder Mountain.
– The Bucktail Path Trail, named for a Civil War regiment, lets you see
rugged landscape that looks very similar to what the first settlers saw
when they came to the region.
– You can fish from your campsite in Kettle Creek State Park.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Wilds, visit http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/ and select PA Wilds under “Hot Topics.” For Pennsylvania tourism opportunities, go to visitpa.com.

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