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Park History

Groundbreaking occurred on May 10, 1959. The first water spilled over the dam in February 1960. Governor David L. Lawrence dedicated Gifford Pinchot State Park in 1961.

Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946)

The park was namGiffordPinchoted in honor of Gifford Pinchot, Governor of Pennsylvania, 1922-1925 and 1931-1934.

Pinchot was the 1st Chief Forester of the US Division of Forestry. In 1905, when the US Forest Service was created, Pinchot lead it for five years. During his tenure, he worked with President Theodore Roosevelt to place over 200 million acres of National Forests under scientific land management.

During Pinchot's second term as governor, he set up work camps that became the model for President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps. Pinchot's work camps built 20,000 miles of paved roads for the purpose of "taking the farmer out of the mud." These paved country roads made it easier for farmers to get from their farms to market. The first "Pinchot Road" parallels the park as PA 177; it was created in 1931. After writing his autobiography, Gifford Pinchot died of Leukemia in October 1946.

Quaker Race Day Use Area got it's name because the Quakers, who once lived in the immediate area, would race their horse-drawn buggies on the present day Route 177, between the Warrington Meeting House and the Lewisberry Meeting House.

Conewago Day Use Area is named after the Conewago Creek, located south of Pinchot Lake.

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