PA State Parks & Forests’ Goddard History Project Wins National Award

A volunteer-led project to raise awareness about the patriarch of Pennsylvania’s State Parks, Maurice K. Goddard, has won a major national award from the National Association of State Park Directors, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation announced Tuesday.

The Goddard Legacy Project won the 2013 President’s Award from the Director’s Association, an accolade presented to an individual or organization that has made an extraordinary contribution or innovation at a state, regional, or national level, furthering the goal of a system of state parks.

“We are thrilled by the State Park Directors’ recognition of the Goddard Legacy Project,” said PPFF President Marci Mowery. “Launched in 2009, the goal of the Goddard Project was to build awareness of the man and most importantly of his legacy of public service, commitment to state parks and public lands, bipartisan ethic, and science based management our parks and forests.”

Sometimes called the father of Pennsylvania’s modern state park system, Goddard served five Pennsylvania governors—both Republicans and Democrats—for 24 years. During his tenure the state park system doubled in size, adding 45 new parks (for a total of 90 parks), and all existing state parks were improved and upgraded, fulfilling his vision for “a state park within 25 miles of every Pennsylvanian.”

“During his long career Goddard significantly expanded the state park system, established state forest natural and wild areas, and professionalized forest and environmental management in state government,” said Project member Brenda Barrett.

The NASPD recognized the Goddard Legacy Project for its efforts to building awareness of Pennsylvania’s state park system, the state’s conservation heritage, and the need for continued stewardship and support through historical research, five state historical markers, interpretive signs in state parks, scholarly and popular articles, and continuing educational programs and a feature length documentary with PBS affiliate WITF in Harrisburg.

“WITF is honored to partner with the Goddard Legacy Project,” said Kathleen Pavelko, WITF’s President and CEO. “This award from the National Association of State Park Directors recognizes both Dr. Goddard’s accomplishments and the persistence of his vision as embodied in the Goddard Legacy Project.”

Partnering with the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Professionals, and the Harrisburg public media outlet WITF, Inc. with funds from the DCNR, Heinz Endowments, the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and many private donors, the Goddard Legacy Project:

-- Erected five official historic markers to memorialize Goddard’s work in parks, forestry, professionalization, and the development of the interstate compacts for the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers at the Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg, the Mont Alto Campus of Penn State, Delaware Canal State Park, Camp Hill Borough, and Goddard State Park;

-- Produced The Life of Maurice Goddard, a full-length documentary which premiered in 2010 and has aired on every PBS television station across the state;

-- Sponsored continuing education programs on the legacy of Maurice Goddard including: annual staff training for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Park Break program with the National Park Service at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area; an annual Goddard Forum at Camp Hill High School; the “Goddard Leadership Legacy Institute” middle school summer camp; outreach programs for civic and conservation organizations; teacher training programs; and campfire programs in state parks;

-- Installed interpretive panels at twenty-five of the state parks created in the Goddard years with funding from dedicated conservation sources. The panels emphasized the vision and the funding needed to create state parks;

-- Published articles in scholarly and popular publications to build awareness of the legacy project including: a dedicated issue of the PPFF newsletter, “Why the Past Matters in Pennsylvania History” in the Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, “Conserving Pennsylvania’s Natural Resources: The Thrifty legacy of Maurice Goddard” in Legacies, the Journal of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, an article on leadership in the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Professionals newsletter, and a lead guest editorial in the Harrisburg Patriot News;

-- Rededicated the M.K. Goddard Wilderness Area as part of the State Forest System; and

-- Sponsored a graduate student in partnership with the state history agency to research and prepare a report on the accomplishments of Maurice Goddard.

For more information, visit the Goddard Legacy Project webpage.


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