Maurice K. Goddard

Maurice K. Goddard
Maurice K Goddard.JPG
Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters
In office
Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources
In office
Personal details
Born (1912-09-13)September 13, 1912
Lowell, Massachusetts, United States
Died (1995-09-14)September 14, 1995
Residence Camp Hill, Pennsylvania

Maurice K. Goddard (September 13, 1912 – September 14, 1995) was the driving force behind the creation of 45 Pennsylvania state parks during his 24 years as a cabinet officer for six governors of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States.

Maurice K. Goddard was born on September 13, 1912 in Lowell, Massachusetts. His family moved around during his childhood so that he lived in Kansas and Toronto, Ontario, Canada before finally settling in Portland, Maine. Goddard received a B.S. in forestry from the University of Maine in 1935. He held a teaching position in forestry at The Mont Alto School of Forestry in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, from 1935 to 1937. He left in 1938 to receive his master's degree in forestry from the University of California at Berkeley. He served under the direct command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower in the United States Army during World War II, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.

Following his discharge from the army, Goddard returned to his career in forestry. He accepted a position as the director of forestry at The Mont Alto School of Forestry. From there he served the same position at the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania. At this time Goddard began to formulate plans for the future of the state parks in Pennsylvania. George M. Leader was elected governor of Pennsylvania in 1954 and sought Goddard's advice about who should lead the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters. After receiving Goddard's advice, Governor Leader instead appointed Goddard as the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters, a forerunner to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

As secretary, Goddard set out to improve the forest department by eliminating political appointees and increasing the number of college-educated employees. With his new group of employees, Goddard and the Department of Forests and Waters set a goal of establishing a state park within 25 miles (40 km) of every resident of Pennsylvania. He fell short of this goal, but under his leadership the number of state parks in Pennsylvania grew by 45, and there was an increase in size of over 130,000 acres (526 km²).

Goddard went on to oversee the creation of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, a combination of several other state departments. Goddard retired in 1979 and remained active in the environmental movement, serving on the boards of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and Pennsylvania Forestry Association. He died on September 14, 1995 at age 83, from injuries received in a fire at his home in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Though not well known, many friends and people who knew him well acknowledge it was likely suicide, as the fire was fueled by a "petroleum reactant." Goddard was survived by his wife, Ethel, who was also injured in the fire. They had two sons: Kim and Mark.[1]

Awards and honors


  1. ^ "Doc' Goddard, PA environmental leader, dies". Chesapeake Bay Journal. Associated Press. October 1995. Archived from the original on 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
  2. ^ a b Hayes, John (September 26, 2010). "State honors founder of park system". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2010.

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