The Pennsylvania state park system came a long way under the leadership of Greg Schrum. Beginning as the first Assistant Superintendent at Presque Isle State Park in Erie in 1972, Greg dedicated his career to advancing conservation and recreation. In 1993, Greg moved to Harrisburg to become Chief of the newly created Resources Management and Planning Division within the Bureau of State Parks. He remained in that position until his retirement in 2007.
As Bureau Chief, Greg established and implemented Park Management Plan and Resource Management Plan processes that created standards and consistency for park and resource management. These plans incorporated the most up-to-date technologies and practices, making the Pennsylvania state park system ahead of the curve. Greg also led the development of a Park Information Management System, or PIMS, which is a central database to help staff do their work more efficiently.
But even more important than that, Greg was the catalyst for a new land program called “conservation areas,” which is a designation now given to lands donated to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the purpose of preserving open space, conserving natural resources, and providing opportunities for passive, non-motorized, low-density outdoor recreation and environmental education. Today there are three conservation area within the Commonwealth: the 800-acre Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area and the 1,000-plus-acre Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area in Dauphin County, and the 400-plus-acre Varden Conservation Area in Wayne County.
Because of Greg’s conservation contributions, he received the Penn State University School of Forest Resources Distinguished Alumni Award, the first Dr. Joseph Trimble Rothrock Conservationist of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, and the Ibberson Government Award from the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation in 2009.