The largest veterans retreat (of its kind) in the U.S. could be housed in Centre Co.


MOSHANNON, CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ)– Off of Gorton Road in Moshannon, Centre County is a piece of land totaling 5,7000 acres–half in Snow Shoe Township and half in Rush Township.

The land could be home to a veterans retreat featuring a 21,000 square foot lodge, with three stories, 18 rooms, a dining hall, farming land, and plenty of outdoor space.

“The opportunities are endless for what we can do on that property,” said Ryan Bowman, Founder & Executive Director of PA Outdoor Veterans Inc.

He feels the site is the perfect place to carry out the nonprofit’s mission: using nature to help veterans and their families relax (while working to lower vet suicide rates).

Bowman said outdoor activities that would be available at the retreat include fly fishing, hunting, camping, and possibly snowmobiling in the winter.

“When you’re out in the wilderness you can decompress and focus on what’s going on in life and put the pieces back together,” Bowman said.

He added that studies show just being outdoors helps to calm vets down when they return home.

“You’re dealing with 20,000 things, it’s very stressful, we want to give that rest and care opportunities… to have that time to just breath, re-focus, and relax,” he said.”It’s a therapeutic aspect in helping these veterans.”

Bowman told WTAJ one of the most important components of the retreat experience is ensuring it’s free for vets and their families.

“The only cost is for them to get to-and-from the retreat, we cover everything else,” he said.

That includes lodging, food, and activity costs. Bowman said a typical family retreat lasts a weekend, but some hunting retreats would last much longer.

The lodge would initially be open 24/7 to any Pennsylvania veteran with an honorable discharge, and their family members. In the future, Bowman said they’re considering opening the lodge to veterans from across the nation.

The estimated cost of the entire project is $14 million. Currently the nonprofit is working to gather grant funding and private donations from philanthropists.

Bowman said the nonprofit is working with consultants (working for free) to see if “the value of the property is there.”

PA Outdoor Veterans Inc. has not made a formal offer on the property.

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