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Celebrating the patriarch of Pennsylvania state parks

Published September 10. 2012 05:04PM

September 13, marks the 100th year anniversary of the birthday of the legendary conservationist, Maurice K. Goddard. A former Camp Hill resident, he is well known for adding 45 state parks and 130,000 acres of public park land to Pennsylvania. These accomplishments earned him recognition as the "Father of Pennsylvania state parks".

Goddard served under five Pennsylvania governors as the Secretary of Forests and Waters and as the founding secretary of the Department of Environmental Resources. His hard work helped to make Pennsylvania's park system one of the best in the country. In, 2009 Pennsylvania received the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. The Goddard Legacy Project began the same year to increase awareness of Goddard's impact.

Goddard's work as a public servant included:

• Securing a state park within 25 miles of every Pennsylvanian

• Dedicating funding for natural resource conservation

• Aiding the Formation of the Delaware River Basin Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission

• Creating a watershed-scale approach to resource conservation

• Influencing the national conservation policy

Goddard earned hisbachelor's degreein forestry from the University of Maine in 1935. He then taught several years at Penn State's Mont Alto campus, before pursuing a master's degree in forestry from the University of California at Berkley. After serving in World War II, Goddard presided over the forestry school at Mont Alto and later University Park. In 1955, Pennsylvania Governor George Leader appointed Goddard as Secretary of Forests and Waters.

"Goddard felt strongly that it was important to have state parks within reach of all Pennsylvanians and set out to make that goal happen. We feel it is important that current and future generations understand the many ways in which Goddard touched their lives, even if they never met him." said Marci Mowery, president of Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation.

On Sept. 13, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation, working with the Goddard Legacay Committee, will host a free celebration at the Camp Hill United Methodist Church in honor of the 100th anniversary of this nationally recognized conservation leader. Visitors will learn more about the man of honor during the showing of the original WITF documentary "The Life of Maurice Goddard."

Attendees can view exhibits by, Pa Parks and Forests Foundation, Pa Forest Fire Museum Association, Pa Bureau of State Parks, Pa Bureau of Forestry, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Susquehanna River Trail Association, Camp Hill Recreation, Green-CAUSE, Camp Hill Environmental Club, Yellow Breeches Watershed Association, and the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy. Cake for the evening is provided by the Pennsylvania Bakery.

Founded in 1999, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation supports 120 state parks and 2.2 million acres of forest by coordinating volunteers, activities and donations through its 34 chapters. The nonprofit promotes outdoor recreation, healthier life styles and environmental education.

To learn more about this event and Maurice K. Goddard visit

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