Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Elk

When I was young, my parent's enthusiasm for the outdoors annoyed me, and their enthusiasm for "the elk" annoyed me much more.  I would be happily playing with my toys at the camp (more about that soon)  and my parents would declare that "We're going to see the elk."  I would moan and gather up some things to keep me from dying of boredom on the hour long car drive.  If I had some money saved up, I would at least be happy to be able to make the stop at the Wal-Mart in St. Mary's for a toy or CD.

So what are the elk you ask?  Well, they are- elk!  Elk were once native to Pennsylvania, but they were overhunted in the 19th century, and they all died out across the state.  In the early 20th century, 50 elk were shipped from the west to re-establish a herd in Pennsylvania. 

When I was younger, the herd was still relatively small, but more recently the PA Game Commission has taken great strides to improve the numbers, and now there are more than 700 elk living in this little town called Benezette. 

This was my first time to go since they built a new visitor's center, and I will say that I now offically like to go see the elk.  The visitor's center was great, and it made me happy to see that it was a green building.  While there we watched a 4D movie (which was awesome!), perused the gift shop, explored the discovery room, and rode a horse drawn wagon. 

While at the visitor's center, we did not see any elk!  But we saw many on the ride home.  This was my favorite:

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