DCNR Renames Lackawanna State Forest District In Honor Of Gifford Pinchot

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Tuesday renamed Lackawanna State Forest District in honor of Gifford Pinchot in a move marking the 150th anniversary of the conservation pioneer's birth and saluting his creation of forestry practices that continue to shape and benefit Pennsylvania's forests to this day.

Gifford Pinchot State Forest District includes Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Susquehanna and Wayne counties.

"It is so fitting that Lackawanna State Forest District now bears the name of a man who introduced so many innovative forestry practices to a nation when it desperately needed sound conservation guidance," said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. "Distinguished forest management is synonymous with Pennsylvania, and Gifford Pinchot laid the groundwork for what we now have."

"Pennsylvania is blessed with 20 state forest districts and the one bearing a new name in the northeast area of the state personifies Gifford Pinchot's crusade for healthy, sustainable woodlands, to be enjoyed and appreciated by all," Dunn said. "With this renaming, we not only commemorate Pinchot's conservation ethic, we also establish a new and separate identity for a district that should be recognized for significant increases in state forestland in recent years."

The renaming was timed to mark Pinchot's 150th birthday Tuesday. A formal dedication is planned at a later date by DCNR. 

Initial purchase of the district's state forestland came in 1902 when 2,854 acres were purchased in Lackawanna County. Some 100 years later, state forest acreage had increased to almost 11,000 acres, and two major state forest tracts had been created in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties. Today, those tracts total 47,543 acres.

"My grandfather was a founder of the political movement to create public forests that are managed to provide multiple benefits to present and future generations," said Peter Pinchot, a forester and Gifford Pinchot's grandson. "He believed this was an essential foundation for a viable democracy. It is wonderful that the Lackawanna State Forest District, so close to his home, is being renamed in his honor."

"It is truly an honor for this forest district to be named for Gifford Pinchot in recognition of his contribution to forestry and his legacy of forest land conservation," said Nicholas Lylo, Gifford Pinchot State Forest District Forester.

Born Aug. 11, 1865, in Simsburg, Conn., Pinchot saw a childhood interest in nature lead to a distinguished career protecting forests and a founding role in America's emerging conservation movement.

President Theodore Roosevelt named Pinchot the first chief of the then-U. S. Division of Forestry, a role in which he served from 1898 to 1910. With the guidance of Roosevelt and Pinchot, over 200 million acres of national forest came under scientific land management. Policies developed by Pinchot still help guide most national and state forests.

He later served as commissioner of the former PA Department of Forestry and later, 1920-1922, as secretary of the former Department of Forest and Waters. He also served two terms as Pennsylvania governor, 1923-27 and 1931-35.

A residence during that time -- now known as Grey Towers National Historic Site -- is maintained by the U.S. Forest Service and houses The Pinchot Institute. It is located just off Route 6, west of Milford, Pike County.

While serving as governor, Pinchot set up work camps throughout the state that became the models for the Civilian Conservation Corps. His contributions to forestry, conservation and resource management also were honored by the Bureau of State Parks in the naming and development of Gifford Pinchot State Park, a 2,338-acre, full-service park between Rossville and Lewisberry, York County.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s forests, visit DCNR State Forest District webpage.

Related Links:

Pinchot Institute For Conservation, Pike County

Grey Towers National Historic Site, Pike County

Related Stories:

PA Names State Forest District For Gifford Pinchot

Op-Ed: Pinchot Left His Mark On Our Natural Heritage

Op-Ed: At 150, Why We’re Still Talking About Gifford Pinchot


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