Welcome to Elk Country

elkralph

 

The Bennett’s Valley has evolved from Seneca Indian Territory in the late 1700’s into an area whose primary industry has become tourism.

The first documented intrusion of white men here was William H. Bennett who followed the waterways here to trap.  According to his accounts there were a series of beaver dams from Caledonia to the head of Kersey Run.  He took animal hides from the area, and left his name on what is now Bennett’s Branch.

Once claimed by Connecticut, Pennsylvania and the Seneca Indian’s, Bennett’s Valley became under the sole jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania following the Revolutionary War.  The land was purchased by New Holland Land Company who in turn sold the land to settlers who like Bennett followed the waterway here.

The first major Industry here besides farming was logging as the area was known for its huge Pine Trees.   There was so many log rafts and later logs flowed down the Bennett’s Branch that for years Williamsport was known as the lumber capital of the nation.

Then came the coal industry that included coal and stripping mining including coke ovens.  This had a very negative impact on the area polluting many streams, scars from the strip mines.  Over the past number of years there has been major reclamation projects both cleaning up the streams and scars from the open pit strip mines.

Native Pennsylvania Elk once inhabited the area but became extinct along with wolves, mountain lions and panthers, all though some have claimed recent panther sightings.  In the early 1900’s Colorado Elk were introduced in several different parts of Pennsylvania, but the only ones that survived were those release in Bennett’s Valley.   These elk grew in major portions, some claim there are 1200 or more Elk roaming the local hills and valleys.

Today, literary thousands of tourist come to view the Elk, take pictures and hunt for sheds.  In addition to the Elk the area is one of the finest hunting areas and native trout fishing streams in the state.

 

   
                                       BENNETT’S VALLEY – TOURIST DIRECTORY
         
  ATTRACTIONS    
         
    ELK COUNTY VISITOR CENTER Benezette, Pa. www.elkcountryvisitorcenter.com
    The Limestone Kiln of Winslow Hill    
    The Indian Mills at Medix Run    
    The Elk Panther and Mountain Lions    
    Unique Hunting Camps of Bennett’s Valley    
    The Cross – Mt. Zion Road Mt. Zion Rd http://us.geoview.info/mt_zion_cross,54383797p
    Lost Gold Shippment   need to add link & pages
    Coke Ovens   Coal and Coke in the Valley
    MT. ZION HISTORICAL PARK Mt. Zion Rd http://www.mtzionhistoricalsociety.org
         
  ATVs    
    ATV TRAILS – BENEZETTE/ ELK CO. http://www.huntingpa.com/forums/ubbthreads.  
       
  BUILDING LOTS FOR SALE    
    Blue Sky – Camp Lots Benezette, Pa 814-894-2471
    Elk Meadows – Winslow Hill Benezette, Pa 814-787-7823
         
  CAMP GROUNDS    
    Benzette Store & Restaurant Benezette, Pa. 814-834-7888
    Big Elk Lick Horse Camp & Camping Benezette, Pa. 814-787-4656
    Medix Run Lodges & Cabins Medix Run http://www.medixrunlodges.com
         
  CHURCHES    
    ST. JOSEPH CATHOLIC CHURCH Force, Pa. 814-787-4131
    UNITED MEDTHODIST CHURCHES   814-787-5891
      Weedville – 1907 Redwood Ave.    
      Caledonia – 3335 River Road    
      Benezette – 256 Winslow Hill Road    
         
  DRUG STORES    
    Bennett’s Valley Pharmacy Weedville, Pa. 814-787-4400
         
  ELK VIEWING STATIONS    
    Gilbert Farm Elk Lookout Benezette, Pa. Winslow Hill
    Hick Run Elk Lookout & Pioneer Cemetery   Hick Run
    Porcupine Run Elk Lookout Benezette, Pa. Winslow Hill
         
  EMERGENCY 911    
    Bennett’s Valley Ambulance Service Penfield, Pa. 814-637-5512
    Jay Township Fire Co   911
    Penn Highlands Elk Hospital St. Marys, Pa. 814-788-800
    Pennsylvania State Police Ridgway, Pa. 814-776-6136
         
  HORSE BACK RIDING    
    Big Elk Lick Horse Camp & Camping Benezette, Pa. 814-787-4656
    Classic Keystone Guides & Outfitter   814-787-7970
         
  INFORMATION    
    Elk Viewing Guide 814-849-5197 http://www.visitpago.com/elkviewing
         
  LODGING    
    Antler Shed Cabins Benezette, Pa. http://www.antlershedcabins.com/
    Bennett House Bed & Breakfast Benezette, Pa. http://www.bennetthousepa.com/
    Bennetts Branch Lodge Benezette, Pa. 814-787-8926
    Bennetts Valley Motel Weedville, Pa 814-787-8025
    Cabin Creek Lodge Benezette, Pa. http://www.cabincreeklodgepa.com
    Camp Cant Keep Up Benezette, Pa. https://www.vrbo.com/490885
    Elk County Hideaway Benezette, Pa. https://www.vrbo.com/490885
    Elk Mountain Homestead Benezette, Pa. http://www.experienceelkcountry.com
    Elk Stone Lodge Benezette, Pa. www.vrbo.com/4011322ha
    Elk Terrace Lodge Benezette, Pa. http://www.elkterracelodge.com
    Hazelnut Cottage Benezette, Pa. http://hazelnutcottagebz.weebly.com
    Mac Darvey Castle Benezette, Pa. http://www.visitpa.com/pa/benezette
    Medix Run Lodges & Cabins Medix Run http://www.medixrunlodges.com
    Sleep Elk Lodge Benezette, Pa. http://www.sleepingelklodge.com
    Sleeping Horse Lodge Benezette, Pa. http://sleepinghorselodge.com
    Stokes Cabin Rentals Benezette, Pa. https://www.vrbo.com/700308
    Wapiti Woods Guest Cabins Weedville, Pa http://www.wapitiwoods.com/
    Winslow Hill Bed & Breakfast Benezette, Pa. http://www.winslowhillbb.com
         
  RESTUARANTS    
    Benezette Hotel Benezette, Pa. www.benezettehotel.com/
    Benzette Store & Restaurant Benezette, Pa. 814-834-7888
    Big Trout Inn – Restaurant & Bar Weedville, Pa. thebigtroutweedville.com – 814-787-5005
    Elk View Dinner & Gifts Winslow Hill, Pa pawilds.com/listings/info/elk_view_diner_gifts/2882
    Force Hotel – Restaurant & Bar Force 814-787-4971
    Guido’s Garage Pizza Weedville, Pa.  
    Jeep Inn – Restaurant & Bar Weedville, Pa. 814-787-5337
    Medix Hotel – Restaurant & Bar Medix Run 814-787-5920
    Old Bull Café’ – Restaurant Benezette, Pa. https://www.tripadvisor.com
  Weedville Hotel – Restaurant & Bar Weedville, Pa. 814-787-8079
    White Horse – Restaurant & Bar Byrendale, Pa 814-787-7788
STORES & CRAFT SHOPS    
    Donnells Gift Shop Grant, Pa donnellsgiftshop@windstream.net
    Elk Country Store Medix Run, Pa. www.visitpa.com/pa-specialty-stores/elk-country-store
    Elk View Gifts Winslow Hill, Pa pawilds.com/listings/info/elk_view_diner_gifts/2882
    Grant Pass – Antiques & Oramental Iron Grant, Pa. http://grantspassiron.com
Nuthatch Studio Benezette, Pa. http://nuthatchstudio.org
WINERIES    
    Benezetts Wines Benezette, Pa 814-787-4000
    Elk Mountain Winery & Gifts Benezette, Pa http://elkmountainwines.com
                                                   NEIGHBORING ATTRACTIONS
         
BICYCLE RENTALS
http://countrysquirreloutfitters.com Ridgway 814-776-6285
CANOEING
www.lazyrivercanoerental.com Ridgway 814-389-2732
www.mccrackencanoe.com Clearfield 814-765-1410
http://countrysquirreloutfitters.com Ridgway 814-776-6285
GOLF COURSES    
    Leaning Pines Public Golf Course St. Marys 814-834-7888
    Bavarian Hill Golf Course St. Marys 814-834-3602
    Laurel Mill Golf Course Ridgway, 814-772-1015
    Emporium Country Club Emporium 814-486-7715
         
  HIKING TRAILS    
    Fred Woods Trail Driftwood http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/
         
  MEMORIAL    
    BUCKTIAL MEMORIAL Driftwood  
         
  MUSEUMS    
    Elk County Historical Society Ridgway www.elkcountyhistoricalsociety.org
St. Marys Historical Society St. Marys smhistoricalsociety.com
    Clearfield Historical Society Clearfield www.clearfieldcountyhistoricalsociety.net/
    Little Museum Sterling Run www.artcom.com/Museums/newones/15834.htm
OVERLOOK    
    Great View of Bennett;s Valley Driftwood https://www.flickr.com
PARKS    
    Parker Dam State Park Clearfield Co. www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks
Elk State Park Glenn Hazel www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks
Bendigo State Park Johnsonburg 814-965-2646
Sinnemahoning State Park www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks
SPORMEN’S STORES & CLUBS    
    Ridway Rifle Club Ridgway 814-772-6510
    River Valley Surplus Ridgway 814-773-3237
  Ammo & Arms St. Marys http://www.ammoandarmsstore.com
Grise Gun Shop Clearfield https://www.gricegunshop.com
Fox Township Sportmen’s Club* Kersey http://www.angelfire.com/pa/FoxSport
  St. Mary’s Sportmen* St. Marys http://www.stmaryssportsmen.org
  *Check for Events
     
  TOURS
Straub Brewery – 814-834-2875 St. Marys http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/880
     
    NOTE:  CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS SITE ARE WELCOME PROVIDED THEY RELATE TO TOURISM OF THE AREA – NO FEE OR CHARGE
      CONTACT jburke@mtzionhistoricalsociety.org

The History of Pennsylvania Elk Country can be purchased for $12 from:
The Pennsylvania Forestry Association
56 East Main Street
Mechanicsburg, PA. 17055
Phone 717-766-5371
Also available : THE PENNSYLVANIA ELK HERD OF TODAY and THE ELK OF PENNSYLVANIA
The cost of these publications, also by Ralph Harrison, are available for $6.00 each which includes shipping and handling.The Association accepts checks and money orders, but can not accept credit cards at this time.

The author, Ralph Harrison was born in the village of Dents Run, Elk County, in 1928, and except for military service, he spent all his life in the area. From 1860 to 1910 Dents Run was a thriving little lumbering community with a sawmill, a shingle mill and a grist mill. At its peak the population of Dents Run numbered nearly two hundred people. Today there are a dozen permanent residents. Almost everyone hunted and fished, and lived close to and made part of their living from the land. Both his father, William Harrison and mother had an early interest in elk that also included the author’s brothers and sisters that inherited a love of the outdoors and an appreciation of nature. The author’s father helped introduce the last elk that were released on Dents Run in 1926 and the elk have always been a part of the author’s life. The author still finds the Elk as interesting and fascinating as he did when he saw his first Elk some seventy-five years ago. Ralph Harrison started working for the Department of Forest and Waters in 1950 and retired in 1991. His father worked for the Department of Forest and waters as a fire warden and as a fire tower-man in the early days. The author’s son, Chip, works for the bureau of State Parks as a park manager at Lyman Run State Park. The Harrison family history covers ninety years with the Departments of Forest and Waters, Environmental Resources and Conservation and Natural Resources.

The author has seen the elk population increase from a low of two dozens or less living on a small area in Elk and Cameron Counties to somewhere between four and six hundred animals scattered over six counties. One interesting fact is that their new range covers much of the area where the original eastern elk made their last stand. There is a lesson to be learned here. If we protect the habitat and give them the space they need, they will be with us for a long time.