GROVE TOWNSHIP, Pa., Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard J. Allan today joined partners and visitors in officially opening the new Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park in Cameron County. The new center is one of DCNR's key investments in the Pennsylvania Wilds, located only a short jump off the Elk Scenic Drive in the heart of the northcentral region.
"It was easy to pick a name for our new facility at Sinnemahoning State Park. With so many opportunities in the park to watch wildlife -- from bear and eagles, to otters and a small elk population -- it couldn't be anything other than 'The Wildlife Center,'" Allan said. "Our new center will help educate visitors about regional wildlife watching opportunities and photography, conservation history and stewardship practices, and provide creative ideas for exploration of this unique and rugged section of Pennsylvania."
Depending upon the season, visitors to Sinnemahoning State Park could encounter nesting bald eagles; see elk nursing their calves in a small nursery group; hear the howl of a coyote as it advertises its territory; or discover bobcat tracks in the snow.
"The Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park joins the Elk Country Visitor Center, Kinzua Bridge State Park walkway and the Nature Inn at Bald Eagle, among other investments, to position the region as a premier destination for outdoor recreation and heritage tourism," Allan said.
The 9,300-square-foot center includes a new park office; interpretative exhibit space; an artisan gallery; and classroom and meeting room space.
The building is working toward Silver LEED certification and incorporates green features that include: energy-efficient lighting and down-lighting for dark skies; geothermal heat; water-saving toilets and faucets; light-colored roofing; sustainably-harvested wood; recycled content products; rain gardens and bike racks.
DCNR has the largest number of LEED-rated buildings of any state park system in the nation, and has reduced its carbon footprint by 20 percent in just five years.
The cost of the facility was $3.8 million, and was provided from Capital Budget monies and the Keystone Fund, generated from a portion of the realty transfer tax.
The general contractor for the project was Lobar, Inc., of Dillsburg, Pa.
Surrounded by Elk State Forest, the 1,900-acre Sinnemahoning State Park is on the First Fork of the Sinnemahoning Creek and has picturesque views of the surrounding mountains and deep valleys. The park features a 142-acre lake created by the George B. Stevenson flood-control dam.
For more information about Sinnemahoning State Park or Pennsylvania's nationally-recognized state park system, visit the DCNR website at www.dcnr.state.pa.us (choose Find a Park) or call toll-free 888-PA-PARKS.
For information about the Pennsylvania Wilds region, visit www.pawilds.com.
Media contact: Christina Novak, 717-772-9101
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources