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Celebrating Joseph T. Rothrock, Father of Pennsylvania Forestry

Celebrating the Father of Pennsylvania Forestry

Harrisburg, Pa. - April 9 marks the anniversary of the birth of Joseph T. Rothrock, Father of Pennsylvania Forestry. Rothrock served as the first Commissioner of Forestry in 1895. He promoted the ideas of conservation, recreation and health.

Rothrock took the helm of the commission post-lumber years in Pennsylvania, and under took the daunting task of purchasing lands for a state forest, as well as reforestation of our lands and water quality protection.  His first purchase occurred in 1898 near Bull Run on Young Woman's Creek in what is now the Sproul State Forest. The location is marked with a suitable monument. Since then, Sproul State Forest has grown to 305,000 acres—the largest in the Pennsylvania’s 2.2 million acre state forest system.

Rothrock’s work as Commissioner included:

·         Purchased forest land, some of which later became state parks

·         Began state-run tree nurseries

·         Created a forest fire control system

·         Established a forestry training facility, which later became the Pennsylvania State University’s Mont Alto Campus

In honor of Joseph T. Rothrock’s birthday the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation is holding a one-day ‘snapshot’ of Pennsylvania’s state forests. On Saturday April 13, the Foundation encourages people to recreate any of the 20 state forests in Pennsylvania and capture images. The event will provide a visual story of a typical day in the life of a Pennsylvania state forest. Photos may be submitted by visiting the Foundation’s Facebook page and filling out the form on the “Forest Photos” tab. Photos of state forests taken on April 13 from participants of all skill-levels will be accepted into the album until Sunday April 14 at 10 a.m.

Founded in 1999, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation supports 120 state parks and 2.2 million acres of forest by coordinating volunteers, activities and donations through its 35 chapters. The nonprofit promotes outdoor recreation, healthier life styles and environmental education.

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