Where Does the Legacy Project Go From Here?

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a remarkable history of conservation dating at least to the late 19th century when industrialization rapidly took hold and when environmental resources were impacted and, in many cases, depleted by economic growth. Examples of conservation efforts are apparent in events such as the creation of a State Forestry Commission, Fish and Game Commissions and Departments of Health, Mines and Mineral Industries, and Forests and Waters in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Conservation efforts are apparent, too, in the efforts of people to conserve and protect environmental resources such as Gifford Pinchot who served as head of the State Forestry Commission and twice served as governor where his agenda included conservation.

This history is also apparent in the creation of organizations such as Trout Unlimited whose work advocates conservation. And, conservation efforts are apparent in public policy when, for example, many conservation laws and regulations were enacted in the 1960s and 1970s.

Remarkably, however, this rich history has never been comprehensively documented. In the arena of public policy, especially, little has been documented and illustrated in any publicly friendly format. Thus, it is a story that largely remains untold but for a few individual histories of events, people and organizations.

That’s where Pennsylvania’s Conservation Heritage comes in.

Combining academic research and interviews with individuals who were or are involved in conservation heritage from the mid-20th century to the present (especially those who played key roles in developing and implementing public policy) and a literature review especially of conservation organizations who have developed their own histories, there will at last be a comprehensive archive of this important story.