Why Conserve?


Gifford Pinchot is credited with beginning a nationwide conservation movement more than 100 years ago. He's a true PA iCon. The ancestral home of this two-time governor of Pa. is located in Milford, Pa. and is worth a visit. Find out how.

Our Legacy

A Rocky Beginning. Centuries ago, most of Pennsylvania was rugged and wild, with thick forests, abundant wildlife, and sparkling streams. As the nation developed and industrialized, nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvania's forests were eliminated to meet the growing nation's ravenous demand for wood products and agricultural commodities. The mountainsides, once lush with towering white pine and hemlock, became stumpy barrens. Uncontrolled fires ravaged what was left. Streams became polluted and wildlife populations were decimated.

A Legacy of Conservation. From the ruins, the Commonwealth's legacy of conservation took root with the institution of forest reserves and the launch of massive reforestation. Careful stewardship of the lands over the last century has allowed our natural resources to rebound. Today, Pennsylvania's 120 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forests are perfect examples of how we have protected and enhanced our natural treasures through foresight, courage, and commitment.

As Pennsylvania's leading conservation agency, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources now oversees these public lands and educates the public about the value and importance of its natural resources.

A Legacy at Risk. Despite the gains, conservation is precarious. Habitat, scenery, and the quality of our air and water are constantly at risk. Poorly planned development and 21st-century living patterns have a huge cumulative impact. Invasive pests and plants seriously threaten the ecological balance. In addition, many people are becoming disconnected from nature and spending less time outdoors. Who will care about the degradation of our environment and its serious consequences?

Join Us. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources leads everyday efforts to engage the public in its ongoing quest for conservation. Won't you join us? Search through this web site to for ideas to conserve and ways to get involve. Become an iConservePA fan on Facebook.