John Oliver PA conservation figure

John C. Oliver, III

John Oliver life’s has been dedicated to conserving and protecting the great natural resources of Pennsylvania. John served the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy as president and chief executive officer directing the Conservancy’s land management operations for twenty five years. During John’s presidency, over 126,000 acres of land were permanently protected.

 Among these efforts was the Clarion River conservation project which resulted in the acquisition and protection of approximately 14,000 acres of land along the riverfront. This stretch of land, now designated as “wild and scenic” under the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, is an important regional recreation resource.

John also worked to acquire 9,400 acres of oil, gas and mineral rights in the Allegheny National Forest. These resource purchases resulted in the federal designation of the Hickory Creek Wilderness Area within the forest. Furthermore, Mr. Oliver was also able to acquire 12,760 acres of forestland in Clinton and Centre Counties for the creation of State Game Lands 295. 

John Oliver was appointed by Governor Ridge as the first Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) in 1995. Over his eight years at DCNR, 80,000 acres of land were protected and added to state park and forest systems. John helped lead the charge for Pennsylvania to become a national leader of sustainable forestry practices with Pennsylvania’s forests FSC certified. He also empowered recreation in the keystone state by enabling trail and greenway systems in Pennsylvania to flourish and become one of the largest rail-trail systems in the country.

 John was involved in the creation of Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener Program, which remains the largest single investment in environmental funding in the state. Growing Greener helps communities and conservation organizations to realize numerous successes in open space protection, river conservation, community revitalization, and creating recreational opportunities across the state.

John has tirelessly worked to conserve Pennsylvania’s natural beauty and the health of its inhabitants. Last September, the bike trail at Goddard State Park was renamed in his honor.