As of 2010, DCNR has invested almost $130 million in parks and forests—building new destination facilities and upgrading trails, visitor services, signage and recreation facilities—investments that have spurred private-sector business growth and job creation and delivered a conservation message. Partly because of their remoteness, many state parks and forests in the region had not been upgraded for many years. Read more about DCNR's 10 specific key investment areas in the region.
In addition, to investments on state lands DCNR's Growing Greener and Keystone grant programs have funded almost $14 million in community-based recreation and conservation projects across the region.
The new Nature Inn at Bald Eagle is one of DCNR's major investments in the PA Wilds region that opened to the public in September 2010. Bald Eagle State Park is probably one of the best places in the PA Wilds for birding. Given its location, it attracts many bird species with the adjacent mountain ridge creating an excellent flyway for migrating birds. The 16-room eco-friendly nature inn—the first of its kind in the PA State Park System, is making outdoor experiences more accessible to the public and serves as a southeastern gateway to the greater PA Wilds region.
A core attraction in this region is DCNR's Elk Country Visitor Center operated in partnership with the Keystone Elk Country Alliance. Located in Benezette, PA and the heart of Pennsylvania's wild elk herd, the Center helps visitors to the region learn more about the majestic creature as well as the greater Pennsylvania Wilds region and its other outstanding outdoor recreation venues. The elk herd, managed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, roams an 835-square-mile area of mostly forested and mountainous land in parts of Elk, Cameron, Clinton, Centre and Clearfield counties. The Elk Country Visitor Center is also at the mid-point of the Elk Scenic Drive—a 127-mile route through the region—features 23 viewing sites that provide parking and opportunities to view elk and other wildlife.