Environmental Heritage- Educational Display Honors Maurice K. Goddard
As part of the multi-year Goddard Legacy Project, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation together with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources unveiled an educational interpretive panel recently at Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center honoring the life and work of Maurice K. Goddard (1912-1995).
“Maurice Goddard put Pennsylvania on the conservation map with his strong commitment to the management of our environmental resources and outdoor recreation,” said Marci Mowery, PPFF President. “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 that the park system that they enjoy with their families was created from the commitment of dedicated staff and volunteers across the decades.”
“Goddard’s vision to include Jacobsburg in the Pennsylvania State Park system has provided the citizens of the Lehigh Valley and beyond with a resource rich in natural history as well as a place of national historical significance,” said Mike Jones, Park Manager. “As development continues throughout the area, Jacobsburg’s 1160 acres will continue to provide a site for outdoor education and healthful recreation.”
Goddard, considered to be the ‘Patriarch of Pennsylvania State Parks’, was known for his blunt, no-nonsense style and served under five Pennsylvania governors as Secretary of Forests and Waters and as the founding Secretary of the Department of Environmental Resources (1955-1979).
He spent an unprecedented 24 years as a cabinet officer, realizing his vision of a park within 25 miles of every Pennsylvanian. Only six of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties are without a state park. During his tenure, Goddard added 45 parks and 130,000 acres of park land, gaining national recognition for Pennsylvania’s state park system.
His legacy as a public servant includes a commitment to professionalism and civil service; a state park within 25 miles of every Pennsylvanian; a watershed-scale approach to water management; dedicated funding for natural resource conservation—the Oil and Gas Fund, Project 70 and Project 500 bond initiatives; and, a profound influence on national conservation policy.
Goddard also played an instrumental role in the formation of the Delaware River Basin Commission and Susquehanna River Basin Commission.
Retiring from state service in 1979, he stayed extremely active serving as a voice for Pennsylvania’s natural resources and serving on the boards of a number of conservation groups. He advocated for establishing a separate agency for parks and forestry; and in 1995, the same year in which he died, Governor Tom Ridge created the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The Legacy Project, which launched in September of 2009, will be unveiling a total of 25 interpretive panels celebrating Maurice’s life at state parks across the Commonwealth. As part of the project, an official state historical marker honoring Goddard was unveiled in a ceremony on September 17 in front of the Rachel Carson State Office Building.
There are plans to erect additional historical markers at other select sites as part of the multi-year Maurice K. Goddard Legacy Project.
Goddard Documentary Airs Nov. 10
The Legacy Project also includes the rededication of Wykoff Run as Maurice Goddard Natural Area at Wykoff Run on November 8, is working in partnership with WITF to release a documentary on the life of Goddard which airs this November 10 in Central Pa, with statewide airing to follow; and is developing a leadership program for youth and young professionals.
For more information, visit the Goddard Legacy Project webpage.
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