The Life of Maurice K. Goddard


Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, but growing up in Kansas, Toronto, and finally Portland, Maine, Maurice Goddard received a B.S. Degree in Forestry from the University of Maine and a M.S. Degree in Forestry from the University of California at Berkley. He 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.

With his peircing gaze and strong workman's ethic, Maurice K. Goddard guided the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks to be a national leader.After serving as the director of the Mont Alto Forestry School, Goddard went on to head the Pennsylvania State University Forestry School. When Governor Leader was elected in 1955, Maurice K. Goddard wrote a letter to the new administration with his suggestions for priorities for forestry and conservation. After being extensively questioned about his recommendations for who should head the Department of Forests and Waters, Goddard was himself offered the job.

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."

Falling short of funds for his 25-mile state park goal, Dr. Goddard needed more money and proposed bond issues to raise money specifically for conservation. Two voter approved bond issues raised money needed to expand and protect the natural resources of Pennsylvania.

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.

 

"Dr. Goddard was a giant in the field of Conservation, a man with vision, courage, integrity and enormous energy. He will long be remembered by his contemporaries for his many far-reaching accomplishments, his friendliness and tenacity. . .As he takes his place among other great conservationists of this century--Rothrock, Pinchot, Leopold--Pennsylvanians will note that a great tree has fallen. . .has fallen. . .is gone. - Dr. Norman Lacasse