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Outdoors notebook: New wildlife center in the works

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, 6:03 p.m.
 

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is moving ahead with plans to build a new Pymatuning wildlife learning center.

Visitors to Pymatuning State Park and game land 214 in Crawford County are probably familiar with the existing center, a structure built in 1938. It houses exhibits, displays and wildlife mounts.

It's relatively small, however.

The commission's plan is to raze the building — and a nearby administration building that's used for duck and goose blind drawings and offices — and replace them with one 9,000-square-foot building.

It would include more exhibit space, an auditorium and conference center, and restrooms. Some of the bathrooms would be accessible from inside and be meant for visitors to the museum. Some would be accessible from outside and would remain open all day year-round for hunters.

Cost of the new building is estimated at $1.785 million. The design still is being completed, commission officials said. But the plan is to demolish the existing building in summer of 2014, start construction of the new one in October and finish it exactly one year later.

“It gives us a lot of potential for the future,” executive director Carl Roe said.

Elk dies

A cow elk that had been getting a lot of attention in Armstrong County in recent weeks has been euthanized.

Small-game hunters in the Deanville area found it looking sickly. An investigation revealed that it had been shot with an arrow. Its wound had become infected, rendering the animal almost immobile. The decision was made to put it down.

Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife conservation officer Rod Burns said tissue samples were taken from the elk to test it for chronic wasting disease. A DNA sample also will be used in an attempt to determine whether the elk was a far-roaming part of the state's wild herd or an escapee from a captive facility.

Honored

YakAngler.com, an online resource for kayak fishing, compiles an annual “Kayak Angler's Choice Awards” that honors things like the kayak of the year, an angler of the year and more. This year, finishing third in the retailer of the year category was River's Edge Canoe and Kayak in Leechburg. Finishing third in the “forum of the year” category was the Kayak Anglers of Western PA organization.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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