2018-05-12 / Front Page

New attraction proposed

By Ally Gribble
Endeavor News

Ken Gerg is known far and wide as a big-game hunter. Over the past three- plus decades, he has acquired a collection of all 29 big-game species in North America, including this desert bighorn sheep he took in Nevada in 1991. Gerg is willing to display his collection at a proposed wildlife museum and conservation center in Emporium. Ally Gribble Photo Ken Gerg is known far and wide as a big-game hunter. Over the past three- plus decades, he has acquired a collection of all 29 big-game species in North America, including this desert bighorn sheep he took in Nevada in 1991. Gerg is willing to display his collection at a proposed wildlife museum and conservation center in Emporium. Ally Gribble Photo

Cameron County Commissioners have signed on to a proposal to estab­lish a wildlife museum and conservation center in Emporium.

Though the project is still in its infancy, steps are being taken to de­termine costs, location, construction details, upkeep requirements, and potential sources of revenue.

The idea was hatched early this year by retired local industrialist Ken Gerg. As the owner of mounted animals from all 29 big game species of North America, he suggested that a public venue to display these mounts would have ap­peal to tourists.

Local leaders see po­tential for the center to attract visitors who are already coming to the Pennsylvania Wilds.

Gerg observed that a visitors’ center near the small Elk County village of Benezette draws tens of thousands of people, as the popularity of elk viewing and other out­door activities rises.

“Having even 10 or 20 percent of those taking the drive over the hill would be astro­nomical for Emporium,” Gerg pointed out. He added that there would be benefits for local businesses, such as restaurants and lodging facilities.

Cameron County Economic Develop­ment Director Cliff Clark said Emporium’s Fourth Street would be a preferred location. He added that public and private funding would likely be needed to make the project a reality.

The plan has gar­nered support from the Cameron County Con­servation District, which is investigating possible state funding sources. In order to qualify for state support, the project would require a feasibility study and meetings with architec­tural firms.

Among details to be worked out are owner­ship, costs, sustainabil­ity, maintenance, and location.

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