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01/18/2018

DCNR Announces New State Park Managerial Appointments

Harrisburg, PA -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today announced appointment of new managers at Ridley Creek State Park Complex in Delaware and Chester counties, and Caledonia State Park Complex in Franklin and Adams counties.

Phillip Schmidt was named park operations manager at the Ridley Creek park complex, and Earl Hockenberry takes over at the Caledonia complex.

“Visitors to the four state parks overseen by these two new managers can only benefit from their wealth of public relations and managerial skills,” Dunn said.

“Both bring solid leadership backgrounds to their new posts, and they have worked with many public, private, and non-profit organizations to promote and maintain the cultural and historical resources entrusted to the Bureau of State Parks.”

Beginning his state parks career in 2007, Schmidt garnered experience from multiple perspectives, beginning with a short semi-skilled laborer assignment and quickly moving on to DCNR’s ranger training program.

After serving six years as a DCNR Ranger at Neshaminy State Park, Bucks County, Schmidt entered the park manager trainee program in Region 1, based in Emporium, Cameron County. During this assignment, he served as interim park manager at Shikellamy State Park, Northumberland County, and Reeds Gap and Little Pine state park complexes, based in Mifflin and Lycoming counties, respectively.

He later served as assistant manager at Codorus State Park, York County, and as manager the past three years at the Caledonia complex.

A native of the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia, Schmidt succeeds James Wassell, who was named manager of Lackawanna State Park, Lackawanna County.

The new Ridley Creek manager holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science from the Pennsylvania State University.

“Growing up in Philadelphia, I was extremely fortunate to have spent more than four years of my time with DCNR in northcentral and southcentral Pennsylvania,” Schmidt said. “Although I will miss having thousands of acres of state forest out my back door, I am very happy to be back in the southeast.

“While every acre of public green space is important, I believe they are increasingly vital in our more urban environments. I strongly look forward to managing both Ridley Creek State Park and White Clay Creek Nature Preserve.”

Schmidt will lead operations at the historic 2,606-acre Ridley Creek State Park near Edgemont, in Middletown and Upper Providence townships. Located 16 miles from center city Philadelphia, the park is a very popular public wedding venue encompassing:

  • Remains of a historic 18th century village
  • Working Colonial-style farm
  • Stables and pastures reflecting a rich equestrian history

Schmidt also will oversee operations at White Clay Creek State Park in lower Chester County. Because of its outstanding scenic, wildlife, recreational, and cultural value, White Clay Creek has been designated by Congress as a National Wild and Scenic River.

Hockenberry, who succeeds Schmidt at the Caledonia complex, joined the Bureau of State Parks in 2012. As a manager trainee with the Bedford County-based Region 3, Hockenberry worked at Prince Gallitzin State Park, Cambria County, as well as Codorus and Caledonia.

Later he worked as assistant manager at Codorus and as interim manager at Susquehannock State Park Complex, Lancaster County.

“I am very excited to work at Caledonia,” Hockenberry said. “It is very much like the parks I grew up in and I am looking forward to go back there. What really excites me is the hiking available, being part of the Appalachian Trail, and the chance to use the nearby ATV trails in neighboring Michaux State Forest.”

A native of Mifflintown, Juniata County, Hockenberry, 28, holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Comprised of 1,125-acres, Caledonia State Park is in Adams and Franklin counties, midway between Chambersburg and Gettysburg along Route 30. It is home to the popular Totem Pole Playhouse which, since 1952, has offered quality stage performances during the summer.

Pennsylvania’s oldest state park, Mont Alto offers a pavilion, picnicking, and trout fishing on its 24 acres adjoining the Penn State Mont Alto campus.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks, visit DCNR's website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Terry Brady, 717-705-2225; tbrady@pa.gov

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