Keystone Elk Country Alliance-A New Partnership

We recently linked to a press release date Dec. 21, 2009 by The Rocky Mountain Elk "Foundation regarding a new PA chapter in Elk Conservation. This was concerning the founding of a Bloomsburg/Danville chapter.

It is no secret that there has been much discord among Pennsylvania RMEF members, with some regarding the RMEF's withdrawal from the Winslow Hill Visitor's Center as a positive thing, while other members have been very displeased.

We recently received information pertaining to the founding of another new organization, Keystone Elk Country Alliance, which is not affiliated with The RMEF.

SPE extends a special thanks to Jeff Thomas for providing this timely information!

Keystone Elk Country Alliance
John Geissler, Chairman
3539 Reichert Road
Erie, PA 16509

John Geissler
Elk Creek Chapter Chair
3539 Reichert Rd
Erie, PA 16509

December 12, 2009

Dear Chapter Chair and Volunteer Committee Members

As Chapter Chair and Committee Volunteers, you are probably aware that RMEF has abandoned Pennsylvania by terminating a 30 year signed agreement to partner with the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources to own and operate our state of the art Elk Country Visitor Center in the heart of PA’s Elk Country. This also applies to the ownership of the pristine Elk Mountain Homestead. As an 18 year member, Life Member, Habitat Partner, Committee Chair, State Leadership Team, and member of the Visitor Center Building Committee I was devastated by this news. The RMEF to this day has been at best disingenuous with the volunteers by keeping this “poor administrative decision” as low keyed as possible. Many of the great volunteers across the state are totally unaware this has taken place. This action by RMEF has resulted in the resignation of Mr. Rawley Cogan, RMEF Lands Manager; Sue Meehl, State Chair; the PA Leadership Team; and many volunteers and committee members. Because of these developments a new entity has been formed to finish what RMEF carelessly gave away.

Please allow me to introduce the “new kid on the block”:

Keystone Elk Country Alliance!

John “The Sheriff” Geissler, Chairman Ron Alcorn, Vice Chairman
Randy Kimmel, Treasurer Mike Odasso, Secretary
Rawley Cogan, Project Manager

Keystone Elk Country Alliance is our new Pennsylvania entity. We will be holding great fundraising banquets, special events and raffles and now ALL of the fundraising proceeds will stay right here in PA!! The focus is on completing the Elk Country Visitor Center as was originally promised to our volunteers and donors.

RMEF has transferred the property to PA DCNR. The donors who contributed to the Homestead property insisted it stay with the Visitor Center project. Because RMEF terminated the agreement, the Keystone Elk Country Alliance has now partnered with DCNR to complete the project and become involved in the operation of the Visitor Center and the Elk Mountain Homestead in the near future. Our Elk Country Visitor Center is well underway and we will see it finished for a 2010 Summer Grand Opening.

We are starting out the 2010 Banquet Season with several committees stepping up to hold banquets under the Keystone Elk Country Alliance and would ask you to consider this option as well, as we move forward. The goal of this alliance is to join strength all across the State to continue our great conservation education heritage, work with our youth in habitat enhancement, and continue to be great stewards of “your” Elk Mountain Homestead and to provide a multitude of people of all ages the “premier, state of the art” Visitor Center in the United States.

We have a team ready to meet with any committee for further explanation and details of the Keystone Elk Country Alliance. We would sincerely welcome you joining your fellow PA Volunteers and lending your support to fulfill a given promise and commitment. This is exciting! Join the 2010 Banquet Season of the Keystone Elk Country Alliance line-up and be listed as “Founding Chapters” – what a legacy to have noted in the Pennsylvania history archives!!

Yours in Conservation and Education,

John “The Sheriff” Geissler, Chairman Contact Info: jlgeissler@peoplepc.com
Members of the Board Hm# 814.866.6421
Keystone Elk Country Alliance Cell# 814.602.4901


  1. Were there any financial misdoings that led to the changes tied to RMEF?

  2. We have no knowledge of any of the financial aspects of the situation, but are reporting information as we receive it.

  3. I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural banquet for the Keystone Elk Country Alliance. The money will stay in the state to help build the visitors center and accrue land for the benefit of our wild elk herd. Many people do not know that Pennsylvania has an elk herd. People will be able to view and gain knowledge of elk and other wild life that we have in our state. This is a valuable resource that the alliance is helping to preserve.
    Had a good time and good luck with the project.

  4. Thanks for your comment, Mr. Hanna. Any information or reports such as this are always welcome.

  5. Congratulations on the birth of the Keystone Elk Country Alliance .
    I just learned about it 3 days ago ,i think keeping the money raised by all of the enthusiastic ,donors is nothing but positive for the Pa. elk herd ! I live in Northern Maine these days ,I was a Pa. resident my first 50 years of life and followed the elk herd my entire life !
    I saw Rawley Cogan his first days with PGC ,you have landed the hardest working ,most passionate , and knowledgeable man for the job at hand ! I will join your alliance and support as best as I can !
    Sincerely ,
    John Sipe
    Carroll Plantation , Maine