Norm Lacasse PA conservation figure

Norman Lacasse

November 6, 1933 -

Norman Lacasse is a consummate volunteer and conservationist. In the 1990s he was instrumental in forming the Capital Area Greenbelt Association, which helped to restore a 20-mile greenbelt surrounding the city of Harrisburg, which was initially conceived under the City Beautiful Movement of the early 1900s. As a forester for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, Norman was doing a tree survey in the area and discovered the abandoned trail. With a grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Norman started the rehab of the greenbelt.

Since his retirement over 25 years ago, Norman spends most days working with volunteers, including court-adjudicated youth from the Dauphin County Probation office and adults from throughout the region, to improve and enhance the trail. Regardless of the weather conditions, you may see him clearing brush or planting trees.

When not on the greenbelt, Norman may be volunteering with the United Way, where he coordinates the annual Youth Day of Caring to clean up blighted areas of Harrisburg. Or he might be leading a tree planting trip for the Pennsylvania Community Forests Council. Norman is also involved as a member of the Pennsylvania Forest Fire Museum Board, where he works to connect the state’s citizens to our rich history of conservation.

Around 1993, Norm started the Pennsylvania Forestry Association Rambles: annual hikes or canoe trips that provide association members the chance to see and learn about special places in the Commonwealth, and that continue to this day under his guidance. Through the association, Norman has inspired numerous publications, including books on elk, the history of forestry, conservation biographies, and more. He was the 2015 winner of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation’s Joseph Ibberson Government Award.