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DCNR Celebrates 50th Anniversary of M.K. Goddard State Park, Goddard’s Conservation Legacy


Sandy Lake, PA -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today visited Maurice K. Goddard State Park in Mercer County to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the park and to honor Goddard’s legacy as one of the nation’s leading conservationists.

“I cannot think of a better way to remember Doc Goddard’s legacy than by celebrating a half century of this beautiful park that is named in his honor,” Dunn said. “DCNR’s mission remains heavily influenced by Goddard’s tireless work for the state and our environment, most specifically Goddard’s goal to expand outdoor recreation opportunities on public lands. Having this park is an eternal tribute to a lifetime of conservation efforts and we are proud to celebrate both today.”

M.K. Goddard State Park was dedicated in 1972, the year after the completion of a flood control and conservation dam was completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The 2,856-acre M.K. Goddard State Park features the 1,680-acre Lake Wilhelm, which is very popular with anglers and boaters. Many recreational activities attract visitors in all seasons. The large lake, abundant wetlands, old fields, and mature forests provide a diversity of habitats for wildlife, especially waterfowl, eagle, and osprey.

Goddard was appointed to serve as the secretary of the Department of Forests and Waters in 1955. In 1959, he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Waynesburg College and was thereafter called "Doc Goddard" by those who knew him. 

Goddard’s career of public service reached its peak when he was appointed to be the secretary of the Department of Environmental Resources, a DCNR predecessor, in 1971. As one of Pennsylvania’s foremost conservationists and environmentalists, he proposed and developed a plan to build a state park within 25 miles of every Pennsylvanian. DCNR continues to create and implement policy with similar proximity goals in mind.

“Much of what we do today at DCNR is a direct result of the work of our predecessors like Doc Goddard,” DCNR Deputy Secretary John Norbeck said. “It is an honor and a privilege to honor that legacy today and each day as we continuously work on improving access to public lands, conservation and education efforts across the commonwealth. I am hopeful that future celebrations at this park help inspire the next generation to be as forward-thinking a leader as Goddard.”

When Goddard retired in 1979, after an unprecedented 24 years as a cabinet officer to six governors, he had added 45 state parks and an additional 130,000 acres of state park land. Many of those 45 state parks have begun to celebrate 50th anniversaries or will celebrate them in the near future.

DCNR now manages 121 state parks, 2.2 million acres of state forests, and works with public and private partners on conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the commonwealth.

For more information about DCNR’s history, visit the department’s website. Visit DCNR’s website for more information about M.K. Goddard State Park.

MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315

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