The County Links
above will keep you specifically in or near Ridgway, St Marys and Elk County, part of the Pennsylvania Wilds
. We add new listings and links on a regular basis so come back often.
Named for that noble animal that once abounded in this region in large numbers, Elk County was formed from parts of Jefferson, Clearfield and McKean Counties on April 18, 1843. Ridgway, the county seat, was named for Jacob Ridgway, a local landowner.
Among many other outdoor oriented adventures, as part of the Allegheny National Forest one can come to see the growing elk herd, reintroduced to the area in the early 20th century. There are two Pennsylvania state parks in Elk County; Bendigo State Park and Elk State Park. There was a time when elk roamed freely throughout their native Pennsylvania range. But with increased settlement came loss of habitat, and by the mid-1800s unregulated hunting had wiped out the state's native elk herd. Reintroduction of these magnificent animals began in 1913, when the Pennsylvania Game Commission began importing elk from the western U.S. Over past several decades, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Keystone Elk Country Alliance and other organizations have worked to conserve and protect elk and their habitat. Through improvements in the elk range and other efforts, it is hoped this wonderful animal will continue to roam the Pennsylvania Wilds.
Many historic structures are located within the boundaries of the Ridgway Historic District, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. The O.B. Grant House and Ridgway Armory are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
St. Marys lies in the center of Pennsylvania's elk country. It is one of the few places east of the Mississippi River that allows hunting of wild elk. The area is known for its access to outdoor activities, including trout streams and state hunting lands inside the city limits. Decker's Chapel, built by Michael Decker after a back injury, has been called the smallest chapel in America. Straub Brewery was founded in 1831 in the Pittsburgh area and moved to St. Marys in the 1850s. Tours of the brewery include a stop at the "Eternal Tap," at which a person can drink a free glass of Straub beer.
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Two counties, one destination: Outdoor recreation lives here! 10 state parks, two federal parks and over 400,000 acres of state forest land offer hiking, biking, horseback riding, boating, swimming, fishing, hunting, cross country skiing, star gazing, and so much more.