LArry Williamson PA conservation character

Larry Williamson

Larry served Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for 38 years in a wide-ranging and far-reaching series of capacities. Under 20 years of Larry’s leadership, DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation funded over eight thousand projects dedicated to the conservation, recreation and heritage preservation projects of the Commonwealth. The credibility and value of this program has been validated by the Commonwealth and its citizens through the passage of four funding initiatives over the years – the Recreational Improvement and Rehabilitation Act, Keystone 93, Growing Greener I and Growing Greener II.

Larry also assisted the development of the Pennsylvania Heritage Parks Program in 1989, which is a multi-faceted regional strategy to protect historical and cultural resources and to promote heritage for tourism development.  The program has been an effective tool to strengthen regional economies through increased tourism, creation of new jobs, and new investment opportunities. Additionally, Larry was also the primary advocate behind the creation of the Pennsylvania Greenways Program in 1998, which provided the framework for much of the trails and open space planning that has occurred in Pennsylvania since then.

As Deputy Secretary for Conservation and Technical Services in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Larry was responsible for the launch and management of a variety of programs including Growing Greener II. As Deputy, Larry has also been one of the architects of DCNR’s Land Conservation Strategy, an initiative to coordinate the conservation efforts of DCNR, local governments and nonprofit organizations, to establish geographic regions for land conservation activities throughout Pennsylvania.

Larry finally left DCNR in 2010 following a final stint with the Department as Special Advisor to the Department’s Secretary. 

The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation named Larry their Cliff Jones Keystone Legacy Award winner in 2019 at the Foundation’s 13th annual banquet. They are not alone in their recognition of Larry’s stellar contributions with many groups from Pennsylvania Audubon to Pennsylvania Recreation & Parks Society and the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association recognizing Larry with their highest awards.