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Maurice K. Goddard State Park




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Maurice K. Goddard State Park
Copyright: Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks
Maurice K. Goddard State Park
Description - 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 park is named for Dr. Goddard who after receiving a MS Degree in forestry from the University of California at Berkley, 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. Maurice K. Goddard took the position and set a goal of a state park within 25 miles of every resident of Pennsylvania.

Maurice K. Goddard State Park consists of 2,856 acres in northeastern Mercer County. A major attraction of the park is the 1,860 acre Lake Wilhelm. The large lake, abundant wetlands, old fields and mature forests provide a diversity of habitats that attracts wildlife in all seasons. Outdoor recreation opportunities have been developed to protect the natural habitat while offering enjoyment for outdoor enthusiasts. Over 1,155 acres of M.K. Goddard State Park, plus Lake Wilhelm, are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons.

Attractions - 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 1960's. 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.

The park is named for Dr. Goddard who after receiving a MS Degree in forestry from the University of California at Berkley, 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. Maurice K. 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.

Recreation - Maurice K. Goddard State Park consists of 2,856 acres in northeastern Mercer County. A major attraction of the park is the 1,860 acre Lake Wilhelm. The large lake, abundant wetlands, old fields and mature forests provide a diversity of habitats that attracts wildlife in all seasons. Outdoor recreation opportunities have been developed to protect the natural habitat while offering enjoyment for outdoor enthusiasts.

Over 1,155 acres of M.K. Goddard State Park, plus Lake Wilhelm, are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day to 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 manager for accessible hunting information.

Climate - Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Maurice K. Goddard State Park area has cold winter months with temperatures averaging around 24 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 to -2 degrees Celsius). The area's average summer temperatures range around 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 Celsius).

Location - The park is located in the northwestern area of Pennsylvania 5 minutes from I-79. Take Exit 24 (Sandy Lake-Greenville) and travel west on Route 358 (towards Greenville) for about 1/10 of a mile, then bear right onto Carpenters Corner Road. At the first stop sign, turn right onto Lake Wilhelm Road, which goes directly to the park.


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More Information

Contact Information:
Maurice K. Goddard State Park, 684 Lake Wilhelm Road , Sandy Lake, PA, 16145-8715, Phone: 724-253-4833
, mkgoddard@dcnr.state.pa.us

Additional Information:
Lake Erie Area - The Lake Erie Area is located in Pennsylvania's northwest corner offering a great playground of beautiful beaches and spectacular sunsets. Cultural, historical and natural wonders of this beautiful area attract thousands of visitors to the outdoors each year.
Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests - Pennsylvania is known for producing some of the most valuable hardwood timber in the world. The 2.1 million acres of state forest land are protected from fire, destructive insects and diseases while offering a beautiful recreation environment for the visitor. Pennsylvania's State Park system offers visitors year-round recreational enjoyment as well. Amenities include: camping, picnicking, hiking, an assortment of winter sports and the viewing of the natural biological diversity and ecosystems found within the Commonwealth.

Links:
Pennsylvania State Parks - Official agency website

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