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 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, eagles and ospreys. Adjacent to the park to the Northwest of I-79 is State Game Lands 270.
Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The park office is open specific hours. Contact the park office for facility seasons and hours.
Picnicking: Picnic tables and charcoal grills are available throughout the park. Boat launches 1, 2, 3, 4 and the marina have restrooms and large picnic 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
Boating: 20 hp motors permitted
The marina has 250 car parking spaces, 121 car/trailer parking spaces, a four-lane boat-launching ramp, a courtesy dock, a marina building and fueling station.
In addition to 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. Spaces on the kayak/canoe storage rack at Launch 3 can be reserved in advance for a fee.
The 240-acre portion of the lake northwest of Interstate 79 is managed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission as part of State Game Lands 270, while the remaining 1440 acres is managed by Maurice K. Goddard State Park. Only electric-powered and non-powered vessels are permitted 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.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. 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 7 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. The concession will be selling hot dogs, hamburgers, and French fries as well as hosting occasional special food events such as pig roasts, brisket, and chicken barbecue. 724-427-7062
Fishing: The 1,680-acre Lake Wilhelm is a warmwater fishery. Common species are largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, muskellunge, bluegill, 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.
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, ring-necked pheasant and waterfowl. State Game Lands 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 vehicle or enclosed trailer. 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
John C. Oliver Multi-Purpose Trail: 12 mile loop, more difficult hiking, paved trail and roadway
Along the north shore, the scenic loop is open to hiking, biking, and snowmobiling. This section contains short, steep runs that may be difficult to climb for some bikers. The north shore has many vistas that overlook the lake. The trail on the south shore is open to hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. The south shore of the lake has areas of trail that share the road with motor vehicles. The trail runs from the dam to Lake Wilhelm Road.
To complete the loop, hike Lake Wilhelm Road to connect the south and north portions of the trail.
Falling Run Nature Trail: 0.7-mile loop trail, yellow blazes, more difficult hiking
Falling Run drops 90 feet in elevation in less than 1,000 feet, cascading over a small waterfall. Hikers will find signs of a pioneer settlement of the George Y. Stright family, including the spring house and mill pond near the trailhead. Signs of the log cabin, old gristmill and sawmill have all but vanished.
Goddard Mckeever Hiking Trail: 1.25-mile trail (0.75 mile of trail in the park), yellow 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
Cross-country Skiing: There are about 6 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: About 6 miles of trail are open for snowmobiling. The trail can be accessed at Boat Launch 4 and the parking lot below the office.
Ice Fishing: Ice fishing accounts for many of the larger fish caught in Lake Wilhelm. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Ice Skating: Launch 3 has an unmaintained ice skating area. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Iceboating: Iceboats must display a current state park launch permit. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
A wide variety of interpretive and educational programs are offered May through September. 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 our website or contact the park office for program schedules.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of upcoming events.
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.
The common birds brochure lists the birds most likely to be seen in the park and in which habitat. Common Birds of Maurice K. Goddard State Park (.pdf) (243 kb, 7/16)
The bird checklist is a comprehensive listing of all birds found in the park, their season, their habitat, and the likelihood of being seen. Bird Checklist of Maurice K. Goddard State Park (.pdf) (812 kb, 7/16)
Cavity-nesting Trail: Once a rare sight because of habitat loss, the eastern bluebird is again a common sight at Maurice K. Goddard State Park due to a highly successful, volunteer cavity-nesting trail program. The habitat in northern Mercer County is very suitable for this beautiful bird but lacked natural cavities for the birds to nest in. The trail program places nest boxes in appropriate habitat throughout the park.
For over 20 years, volunteers have maintained such nesting boxes in old fields, meadows, farm fields and recreation areas. Over time, the trail program has expanded to include additional cavity-nesting species. House wrens, tree swallows and chickadees also take advantage of the boxes. The larger nest boxes located near the lake are used by waterfowl, such as wood ducks and mergansers.
Near the marina and dam, racks of nesting gourds are utilized by purple martins, which are highly social birds. Similar to the plight of the eastern bluebird, purple martins are no longer as common as they once were due to lack of natural nesting cavities. However, the purple martin population is growing in the park. Visitors can still see this largest member of the swallow family thanks to the dedicated volunteers.
Sandy Creek, which traverses the park, was first noted in reports made by George Washington during his trip to Fort LeBoeuf in 1753. Its history of flooding 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 the Mercer County Commissioner and a Soil and Water Conservation District Director for Mercer County, 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.
Maurice K. Goddard Video
Keep in Touch
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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 in June and Music at the Marina in August. 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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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 Natural 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 Lands 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 environmental education programs for schools. Groups can also rent the center for retreats, workshops and conferences. Overnight accommodations include three lodges and two retreat houses. A discovery building, auditorium and hiking trails 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:
Maurice K. Goddard State Park Map (.pdf) (2,845 kb, 9/15)
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.
Lake Depth Map
Maurice K. Goddard State Park Bird Checklist (.pdf) (812 kb, 7/16)
Common Birds Brochure
Common Birds of Maurice K. Goddard State Park (.pdf) (243 kb, 7/16)
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