Little Buffalo Building Honors Roger Fickes, Former State Parks Director
On his personal value scale, he will tell you, family always has come first. So fitting then that his two “families” were there to share the honor.
Some came from close by—from his New Bloomfield, Perry County, home, and beyond. Others came from across the state. They were the men and women who wear the Bureau of State Parks uniforms, and the other employees of DCNR.
Gathered on September 27, at Little Buffalo State Park, near Newport, Perry County, family members, former coworkers and friends all joined in recognizing the accomplishments of former bureau director Roger Fickes by dedicating the Roger Fickes Park Office and Visitor Center.
“Roger brought a unique and inclusive management style to the bureau,” said David Kemmerer, the man who now heads the Bureau of State Parks. “He was deliberate, using small steps to encourage buy-in as he introduced new initiatives”
“These traits made Roger successful, and helped build a state park system that is world class,” Kemmerer told the gathering.
Retiring in 2006, Fickes served 14 years as state parks director and was instrumental in introducing and implementing many programs and initiatives that reshaped the bureau.
Commenting on the honor, DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti said, “It is so fitting that a Little Buffalo State Park building that serves as a key point of outreach for the park, providing natural, cultural, historical and recreational programs for visitors and educators, should be named in Roger’s honor.
“He embraced the state park mission while garnering the respect of bureau employees and the public they serve. Under his guidance, the Pennsylvania state park system was modernized, better addressing public service needs and improving infrastructure.”
Located not far from Fickes’ New Bloomfield, Perry County, home, Little Buffalo is one of the Bureau of State Park’s more popular facilities, drawing more than 257,000 visitors a year. Its office and visitor center was constructed several years ago.
“My name on that building is secondary to the contributions of the men and women with whom I had the pleasure to work,” Fickes told the dedication gathering. ”Those folks gave their heart and soul and it endears in what people from around the state and country come to our parks to enjoy.
“I am very proud of my years as a public servant, and what we had a chance to do in serving the people of Pennsylvania.”
Prior to his appointment as director of the Bureau of State Parks, Fickes held several supervisory positions in a variety of bureaus within the former Department of Environmental Resources (DER).
Located near Newport in Centre Township, Little Buffalo State Park encompasses 830 acres. Its 88-acre lake is popular with boaters and anglers. Historical features include a covered bridge; a restored, operating grist mill; an old farm house built on the site of a colonial tavern; and a narrow-gauge railroad trace which features one of the original rail cars.
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