The History of Pennsylvania - Elk County

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

Ralph Harrison

January 13, 1928 - July 22, 2015

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.


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.