News for Immediate Release

December 13, 2011

DCNR Names New Manager for Moshannon State Forest District

Harrisburg – The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources today named John Hecker as manager of the Moshannon State Forest District based in Clearfield County. He formerly headed silviculture and timber management at the Bureau of Forestry’s headquarters in Harrisburg.

“John brings a wealth of technical and administrative skills to his new post after having served most admirably in a variety of prior forestry positions,” said Bureau of Forestry Director Daniel Devlin. “His interpersonal skills will be a strong asset as he works with district employees, residents and state forest visitors.”

Heading one of 20 state forest districts across the state, Hecker will oversee forest-growth management, personnel coordination, infrastructure maintenance and fire prevention and suppression. He also will manage service foresters who provide support, direction and technical assistance to private forest landowners.

Headquartered in Penfield, Clearfield County, Moshannon State Forest District includes primarily Clearfield, Elk and Centre counties, with small tracts in Cameron and Clinton counties. Among eight state forests in the Pennsylvania Wilds region, the Moshannon State Forest totals 190,012 acres on the Allegheny Plateau.

“I love this forest, having hunted and hiked on the Moshannon for many years, and I am proud to be assuming a key role now in its stewardship,” Hecker said. “The Moshannon State Forest is an important part of the community, both economically and socially.

“The current increase in natural gas development on portions of Moshannon will provide new jobs to the community and a nationally important source of energy,” Hecker said. “It also presents some new challenges for the forest and I look forward to integrating this development with current forest uses in a coordinated and environmentally responsible way.”

Hecker, 47, succeeds Robert Merrill Jr., who retired.

Moshannon’s new district forester first worked for a private sawmill company, then began his 17-year career with the bureau as a service forester in the William Penn Forest District in southeastern Pennsylvania. Later assignments included forestland management duties in the Sproul and Bald Eagle state forests, and a forest resource planner position in Harrisburg where Hecker wrote current state forest resource plans and addressed land acquisitions.

Assigned as silviculture specialist for north central forest districts, Hecker later was promoted to chief of the timber management program. Working in Harrisburg, he oversaw sustainable management of the state forest’s 2.2 million acres of timber resources. He had served as the bureau’s silviculture and timber management chief the past seven years.

Hecker holds a bachelor’s degree in forest science from The Pennsylvania State University.

A native of Ephrata, Lancaster County, Hecker and his wife are the parents of six children, ages 3 to 24.

For more information on the Moshannon State Forest District, as well as Pennsylvania’s other 19 districts, visit and choose “Find a Forest.”

Media contact: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101