Ralph Harrison

January 13, 1928 - July 22, 2015

Ralph Harrison may have retired from the Bureau of Forestry, Elk State Forest, but he remains a champion for conservation. During his 40 year tenure (1951-1991), Ralph worked tirelessly – on the job and on his own time – assisting both the Bureau of Forestry and the Pennsylvania Game Commission promoting and expanding the elk herd. He hosted countless groups: elected officials, college and high school students, teachers, local residents, visiting foreign students and professors, and staff of state agencies.

Ralph is dedicated. His innumerable volunteer hours involve many hours of hands-on work: mowing food plots, planting trees, fencing trees, etc. Retired for more than twenty years, Ralph shows no signs of slowing down. He continues to host group tours, complete habitat work, build and install bluebird boxes, assist with the golden eagle research program, and write books. He has written two books on the history of elk in Pennsylvania and a third on the history of the Quehanna Wild Area. All are available from the Pennsylvania Forestry Association. (http://www.paforestry.org/store/)

Ralph enjoys his time spent volunteering. He has said his efforts were to demonstrate that the Bureau of Forestry’s work is more than just trees but conservation of the entire resource – land, animals, water, history and more.

Astute readers may recognize the Harrison name—Ralph is father to Chip Harrison, park manager in a complex that includes eight state parks, including Leonard Harrison and Colton Point and the dark sky of Pennsylvania (Cherry Springs), and is father-in-law to Maxine Harrison, founder of two friends groups and member of the board of the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation, which was proud to honor Ralph as their 2014 President’s Award winner.

It is with heavy hearts that we note Ralph’s passing on July 22, 2015. Words fail.