Mission Statement

To conserve and enhance Pennsylvania’s elk country for future generations.

The Keystone Elk Country Alliance, KECA,  is committed to working with our partners and regional and local communities to make the Elk Country Visitor Center a success. Our lead volunteer group has many years of experience raising private dollars to enhance elk country across the US. The Elk Country Visitor Center is an exceptional venue that provides a consistent conservation education message for tens of thousands of visitors to our region. We strongly believe that the Elk Country Visitor Center will be a world class experience to build bridges of education and understanding between urban and suburban environments. We are excited to focus our efforts on the Elk Country Visitor Center and to conserve, protect and enhance Pennsylvania’s elk country.

KECA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) wildlife conservation organization that focuses their resources on Pennsylvania’s elk herd and the Elk Country Visitor Center located in Benezette. Conservation education is our number one priority. We accomplish this through our scheduled programs at The Center, participation in Outdoor Shows, County Fairs and other venues where we can interact with the public. We have had over 12,000 youth participate in our educational programs. In 2013, we launched our exciting Distance Learning program that allows us to take Elk Country to schools and civic groups that are unable to visit, through geographic or fiscal constraints. Our Conservation Education staff reaches out through online technology via Skype to complete our unique programs with the participants live. Our traveling elk trunk is shipped to the groups in advanced and packed full of antlers, hides, skulls and other informative items. We truly are a leader in conservation education and working hard every day to bring the Elk Country experience to people everywhere.

Our efforts of wise land stewardship are spreading across Elk Country. We are working closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Forestry and the Pennsylvania Game Commission to enrich habitat for elk and other wildlife through mowing, planting and other projects. We look forward to continuing and expanding these efforts in working with private land owners this year on a number of projects.

The Keystone Elk Country Alliance is excited to be working with TomBob Outdoors. KECA's own Rawley Cogan is a host on TomBob's "Friends in Wild Places" TV Show and will continue spreading the message with more new shows. These shows are a great view into the lives of Elk Country residents and they work, place and 'experience elk country'.

Check out this teaser of the Friends in Wild Places show.

Board of Directors of the Keystone Elk Country Alliance

Chairman: Scott Dunkelberger, Shermansdale
Treasurer: Greg Yutzey
Linda Buchheit, Saint Marys, PA
Rob Carleton, Mansfield, PA
Randy Schmidt, DuBois, PA
Jeff Gauger, Rimersburg, PA
Jerry Regan, State College, PA
Ex Officio:  Alan Lichtenwalner, Emporium, PA

President & CEO:  Rawland D. Cogan

Pennsylvania’s elk country is defined by the physical boundary determined by the state wildlife agencies. Elk country includes the people that live in elk country, elk, other wildlife including non-game species, and their habitat. KECA is excited to be managing the Elk Country Visitor Center. The Alliance believes that conservation education is paramount to developing future conservationists. The end result of conservation education is not simply that guests will learn about elk and their habitat. Visitors to the Elk Center will experience elk country, many for the first time, learn about elk, other wildlife and hopefully become inspired to join us to complete our conservation work. If the Alliance is going to be successful, visitors to the Elk Center must take a course of action to become involved in our conservation efforts. Action can be described as: joining a local banquet committee; attending a fund raising event; becoming a volunteer at the Elk Center; or contributing financially. If the Alliance is successful, the Elk Center will be successful and Pennsylvania’s Elk Country will benefit.

Our members are the driving force behind the Keystone Elk Country Alliance. To see a listing of our "Founding Members" please click here.

The Keystone Elk Country Alliance will complete its mission through
  • Conservation Education at the Elk Center
  • Stewardship project
  • Permanent land protection
  • Cooperation with private land owners and state natural resource agencies 
Staff of the Keystone Elk Country Alliance
Carla Wehler, Operations Manager
Brandi Hanes, Visitor Center Supervisor
Jill Chiodo, VC Assistant
Steve Kronenwetter, Accounting
Ben Porkolab, Con Ed Coordinator
Victoria Challingsworth, Con Ed Specialist
Doty McDowell, Field Director/Habitat Manager
Kristi Reinaker, Eastern Field Director
Steve Mecca, Maintenance
Chad Woodward, Maintenance/Habitat
Tom Rumbaugh, Maintenance
Linsie Adams, Guest Relations

Our Chapters Across Pennsylvania
Ah'Tic, DuBois
Randy Schmidt, Dave Miller, Co-Chairs

Appalachian, Mechanicsburg
Ian Eckman, Chair

Brokenstraw, Titusville

Deb Baum, Chair

Central Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg
Margie Ross, Chair

Chilli Creek, Bloomsburg
Jeff Keiffer, Chair

Clinton County, Lock Haven
Rick Trude, Chair

Coal Region, Dickson City
Greg Gondella, Chair

Elk Country, St. Marys
Cody Cogan, Dave Vollmer, Co-Chairs

Elk Creek, Erie
Katie Chesley & Kevin Wheeler, Co-Chairs

Evergreen, Indiana
Mike Hudzick, Chair

Laurel Highlands, Johnstown
Sheri Yanko, Chair

Lenape Wapiti, Allentown
Wayne McConahy, Chair

Pine Creek, Wellsboro
Terry Bryant, Penny Whipple Co-Chairs

Mike Odasso, Dave Spigelmyer Co-Chairs

Wapiti West, Sharon
Frank Murray, Chair

Westmoreland County
Mark & Vanessa Bates, Co-Chairs

Interested in being involved with one of our chapters?  Contact Doty McDowell, Field Director for more information.  kecafd@windstream.net
Upcoming Events

June - August:
7 days a week 8am – 8pm
September – October:

7 Days a Week | 8am – 8pm
November – December:
Thursday – Monday | 9am – 5pm Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
January – March:

Saturday & Sunday Only | 9am – 5pm **Closed Easter Sunday
April – May:
Thursday – Monday | 9am – 5pm
(closed Tues & Wed)
**Closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, 1st Day of Buck, Christmas, New Years**