Maurice K. Goddard State Park
The 2,856-acre Maurice K. Goddard State Park features the 1,680-acre Lake Wilhelm, which is very popular with anglers. 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, eagles and ospreys. Adjacent to the park to the Northwest of I-79 is State Game Land 270.
Picnicking: Picnic tables and charcoal grills are available throughout the park. Boat launches 1, 2, 3, 4 and the Marina have restrooms and large picnicking areas. Picnic pavilions can be reserved in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Picnic Pavilion Information
Make a reservation.
Boating: 20 hp motors permitted
The Marina has 250 car parking spaces, 121 car/trailer-parking spaces, a four-lane boat-launching ramp, two courtesy docks, a marina building and fueling station.
In addition to the boat launch area at the Marina, there are seven other boat launches around the lake. Four are within the state park and three are in the state game lands.
Only electric-powered and non-powered vessels are allowed in the Game Commission section of the lake.
Motorboats must display a current boat registration. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks, available at most state park offices; launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Boat Rental: The boat concession is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. from May 1 through Labor Day. Pontoon boats, row boats, motorboats, kayaks and canoes are available for rent. Items for sale include gasoline, fishing bait and tackle, and prepackaged snacks and refreshments. 724-253-2782 Out of season: 724-967-3623
Fishing: The 1,680-acre Lake Wilhelm is a warm-water fishery. Common species are largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, bluegill, crappie, catfish, perch and sunfish. A bait and fishing tackle concession is available at the marina. An area called the “Rounded Point,” near the Marina parking lot, has an ADA accessible fishing pier. All Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply.
Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting: Over 1,155 acres of Maurice K. Goddard State Park, plus Lake Wilhelm, are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer and waterfowl. State Game Land 270 is adjacent to the park.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner's car, trailer or leased campsite. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Hiking: 14 miles of trails
Multi-use Trail: 12 mile loop, moderate hiking, paved trail and roadway
Falling Run Nature Trail: 0.7-mile loop trail yellow blazes moderate hiking
Goddard Mckeever Hiking Trail: 1.25-mile connector trail (0.70 miles of trail in the park) orange blazes difficult hiking
Guidelines for a Safe Hike
The following guidelines will help ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience while at the park.
Biking: 12 miles of trails
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing: There are eight miles of trails marked for cross-country skiing for beginner to expert skiers.
Sledding: There is a one-acre hill for sledding at the dam.
Snowmobiling: There are 6 miles of trail within the park. Boat launches are access points for the trail.
Ice Fishing: Ice fishing accounts for many of the larger fish caught in Lake Wilhelm.
Ice Skating: Launch 3 has an unmaintained ice skating area.
Iceboating: Iceboats must display a current state park launch permit.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
A wide variety of interpretive and educational programs are offered May through September at the Environmental Learning Center in the Marina. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding, and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources. Visit the Web site or contact the park office for program schedules.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of events from today forward.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
Access for People with Disabilities
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.
The large lake, abundant wetlands, old fields and mature forests provide a diversity of habitats that attracts wildlife in all seasons.
Once pushed to the edge of extinction, bald eagles and ospreys have rebounding populations. Both of these fish eating raptors nest near Lake Wilhelm. The combination of old fields and mature forests are home to many birds including American woodcock, common snipe, common nighthawk and many species of warblers. In the spring and fall, waterfowl by the thousands stop at the lake for a quick rest and snack. Loon, teal, merganser, goldeneye and bufflehead are some of the noteworthy waterfowl. The winter is a good time to see the many woodpeckers, including the pileated woodpecker.
In the summer, turtles are abundant in the quiet waters by the Marina. The wetland across Lake Wilhelm Road from the marina entrance has a waterfowl observation station and is a great place to see osprey and beaver.
Bluebird Trail: Once a rare bird due to habitat loss, the red, white and blue eastern bluebird is once again a common sight at Maurice K. Goddard State Park. The park’s bluebird trail program is one of many successful wildlife programs at Maurice K. Goddard State Park. The habitat in northern Mercer County is very suitable for this beautiful bird but was lacking cavities for the birds to nest in.
For over 20 years, volunteers have maintained bluebird nesting boxes in old fields, meadows, farm fields and recreation areas. Six volunteers maintain about 90 boxes each year, which annually fledge about 100 young bluebirds. The white and emerald colored tree swallow, another cavity nester, also thrives in the boxes.
The best place to see the birds and boxes is in day-use areas along the Multi-use Trail, and the Marina and boat launches.
Purple Martin Nesting Gourds: The destruction of its insect prey by Hurricane Agnes, in 1972, decimated and fragmented the population of purple martins. What was once a common bird became hard to find except in a few places. Highly social birds, purple martins need abundant cavities to form colonies.
In the Marina near the Environmental Learning Center, volunteers maintain two racks of 12 nesting gourds. Thanks to the effort of volunteers in and around Lake Wilhelm, the purple martin population is growing and visitors can see the largest member of the swallow family.
The stream that traverses this state park was first noted in reports made by George Washington during his trip to Fort LeBoeuf in 1753 and is named Sandy Creek. A recurring history of flooding by this creek prompted the initial flood control study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1939. The U.S. Soil Conservation Service subsequently became committed to building a dam for flood control and conservation purposes. The recreational potential of the project became so apparent during the initial planning phase that state, county, township and municipal authorities were drawn into an outstanding cooperative effort to construct the park and game lands. The land was acquired for the project in the late 1960s. The dam was completed in 1971 and recreational facilities were dedicated in 1972.
Lake Wilhelm is named in honor of Lawrence J. Wilhelm. As a Mercer County Commissioner and Mercer County Soil and Water Conservation District Director, Mr. Wilhelm provided leadership in the development of the park from its beginnings in 1959 to the time of his death in October of 1968.
Maurice K. Goddard
After receiving a MS Degree in forestry from the University of California at Berkley, Maurice K. Goddard served in the United States Army from 1941 to 1945 and was awarded the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit and earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
After serving as the director of the Mont Alto Forestry School, Goddard went on to head the Pennsylvania State University Forestry School. In 1955, Goddard was appointed Secretary of the Bureau of Forests and Waters.
Goddard took the position and set a goal of a state park within 25 miles of every resident of Pennsylvania. "We took a big map of Pennsylvania and drew circles around Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, the Wyoming Valley, and Harrisburg," he said. Goddard quickly set to work to improve the professionalism of the department by eliminating the political appointments and increasing the number of college educated employees.
In 1959 Maurice K. Goddard received an honorary doctorate of science from Waynesburg College and was thereafter called "Doc Goddard."
In 1971, the Department of Forests and Waters was combined with several other state departments to create the Department of Environmental Resources. Although opposed to the combined department, Dr. Goddard was appointed interim, then secretary of the department.
When Dr. 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. He raised Pennsylvania’s parks and forestry departments to national leaders, while not losing sight of the people and programs. Dr. Goddard received many awards in his career, including the prestigious National Wildlife Federation Special Achievement Award for his 50 years as an outspoken defender of natural resources.
Keep in Touch
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Like to spend time in the outdoors, meet friendly people and help make Pennsylvania State Parks great? Volunteering at a park might be for you.
Becoming a Conservation Volunteer is easy.
Join a Friends Group
Friends of Goddard State Park (FrOG) This volunteer organization that supports the state park with funding and volunteers, they help with the Pioneer Frolic Festival and are working to put in playground equipment by the Marina. Contact the park office for volunteering opportunities. http://friendsofgoddard.com
Pioneer Frolic: Every June the Friends of Goddard (FROG) co-sponsor the Pioneer Frolic which is two days of festivities that examine what historical rural Pennsylvania life was like along the Sandy Creek during the 1750s to 1840s. Crafters, artisans, and demonstrators display there wares and skills which can include a blacksmith, pioneer toys, spinner, food, entertainment and an encampment. http://friendsofgoddard.com
Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
Believing that each generation is responsible for leaving behind a better legacy of good conservation, the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) was created in 1999 to give supporters and users of Pennsylvania's parks and forests a positive way to contribute to the conservation of our publicly-owned properties. The Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation welcomes the support of individuals and businesses who share a commitment to conserving, protecting, and enhancing the natural, scenic, and recreational areas of this commonwealth. www.paparksandforests.org
Make a Donation
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To a park's friends group - see above
To a park or the Bureau of State Parks - Pennsylvania Parks and Forestry Foundation www.paparksandforests.org
Through a purchase at a park gift shop
Thank you for your support!
We love when young people ask us how to get involved!
DiscoverE has programs for young people ages 4 to 17, provided by Pennsylvania State Park educators. By combining recreation and education, we hope to motivate children to learn more and return often, leading to a lifetime of outdoor enjoyment and conservation leadership.
In Watershed Education, teachers and students assess water quality of a local stream on a quarterly basis and develop strategies to solve local water quality problems.
ECO Camp - Exploring Careers Outdoors - is a week-long residential camp for a cross-section of high school youth from across Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Participate in action-packed, hands on activities and recreational adventures in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests that expose youth to conservation, recreation and careers in natural resources. Learn how people make a living working in the outdoors.
Explore education for more information on these and other programs.
Explore the Calendar of Events to find a program near you.
Do you take conservation personally? iConservePA is a Web site managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources whose vision is to inspire citizens to value their natural resources, engage in conservation practices and experience the outdoors. Take conservation personally.
Come Work with Us
Pennsylvania State Parks and the Department of Conservation and Natrual Resources offer a wide range of civil service and non-civil service jobs, from foresters, to rangers, to engineers, to educators, to botanists and so much more. Learn what is currently available.
Tell us What You Think
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Maurice K. Goddard State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau. www.mercercountypa.org
The 2,027-acre State Game Land 270 is adjacent to the park. Its rolling terrain is open, with interspersed wooded areas. A 240-acre portion of Lake Wilhelm is part of this tract. The common game species include, duck, rabbit, turkey, pheasant, squirrel, woodcock, grouse, deer and dove.
Only electric-powered vessels are permitted on Lake Wilhelm, west of I-79. Entry upon posted wildlife refuges and propagation areas is prohibited. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on gated roads and trails; snowmobiles are permitted where so designated and posted. For more information contact the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Northwest Division Headquarters. 877-877-0299
McKeever Environmental Education Center is a modern facility that provides group programming for one hour, one day or one week. Three dormitories and a dining hall can accommodate 150 people. A discovery building, auditorium, trails and the outdoors complement each other to make an ideal setting for an environmental education experience. For more information, contact; McKeever Environmental Education Center, 724-376-1000. www.mckeever.org
Maps and Downloadables
Below are many of the maps and publications for this park. You can read them or download them and might need special software (all free) to view the publications.
You must have the free Adobe Reader to view the maps and brochures that are in pdf format (.pdf).
Alternate versions of the text of the brochures are in rich text and text formats. Click on the files to view them. To download (.rtf) files:
Interactive GIS Map
The Interactive GIS Map uses Geographic Information Systems to create a map that does not need to be downloaded and features driving directions, searchable park amenities and customizable maps. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Maurice K. Goddard State Park Bird Checklist (.pdf) (1,918 kb, 3/11)
Common Birds Brochure
Common Birds of Maurice K. Goddard State Park (.pdf) (257 kb, 3/11)
Half Marathon Route
Half Marathon Course Route Front (.pdf) (188 kb, 4/13)
Half Marathon Course Route Back (.pdf) (952 kb, 4/13)
The park is five minutes from I-79. Take Exit 130 (Sandy Lake-Greenville) and travel west on PA 358 (toward Greenville) for about 0.1-mile, then bear right onto Sheakleyville Road. At the first stop sign, turn right onto Lake Wilhelm Road, which goes directly to the park.
GPS DD: Lat. 41.4275 Long. -80.14522
Driving Directions: The Interactive GIS Map has turn-by-turn driving directions to the park office from the Park Information Window. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Maurice K. Goddard State Park