The legacy of Jerry Walls’ nearly four decades on the Lycoming County Planning Commission can be measured in the acres of land he helped to protect for recreation and community revitalization. He put together the county’s first comprehensive plan, which he said is “an important tool for considering infrastructure, health, natural resources, the environment, and economic growth within communities.” He worked tirelessly to implement large landscape projects that connected numerous state parks and forests, this raising their value and accessibility, until his retirement in 2007.
For instance, his unwavering support of the Pine Creek Rail Trail resulted in a world-class recreation corridor that connects four state parks north of Lock Haven (Colton Point, Leonard Harrison, Little Pine, and Upper Pine Bottom), and provides 62 miles of unparallel and protected scenic beauty. His leadership as chair of the PA Wilds Planning Team – a 12-county local government planning initiative – resulted in the state’s largest focal landscape that links together 27 state parks and 1.3 million acres of forests in the north-central portion of the Commonwealth.
It’s not just lands that piqued Jerry’s interest. He was involved with the development of the 22-county Susquehanna River Greenway Partnership, which helped people discover the beauty and ecotourism opportunities of the river and the towns along its banks. The trail is described as “an evolving corridor of interconnected parks, trails, river access points, conserved areas, and river communities.”
Now that he is retired, Jerry serves as chairman of the SEDA-Council of Governments Joint Railroad Authority, which provides assistance to railroad companies and their projects, and he remains on the board of the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership.