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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the Board Hm# 814.866.6421
Keystone Elk Country Alliance Cell# 814.602.4901