Lifetime honor: Oliver acknowledged for achievements | Open air

Lifetime honor: Oliver recognized for achievements | Outdoors

If you look back through the history of conservation, you will find giants, people who have positively impacted wildlife, hunting and outdoor recreation in ways far beyond normal.

Count John Oliver among them. For more than three decades, the Pennsylvania native has been a tireless advocate for preserving wildlife habitat and creating public spaces for outdoor recreation seekers.

So it’s fitting that he’s being honored now.

The Board of Commissioners of the Pennsylvania Game Commission recently created the John C. Oliver Wildlife Conservation Lifetime Achievement Award. It is awarded to individuals who have significantly improved Pennsylvania’s wildlife and natural resources throughout their careers.

Oliver is the first winner of the award, who will henceforth bear his name because he exemplifies the qualities the Game Commission looks for in award winners.

As President of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and later as First Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, he was a leader in dedicating more than 200,000 acres of land in the Commonwealth to conservation. All this land is now held in perpetuity for the common good and is available to all for generations to come.

The Keystone State Wildlife Commission, wildlife and hunters and trappers will certainly continue to benefit from his work. Land acquisition projects he has led include:

n 3,182 acres on State Game Lands 130 in Mercer County.

n 2,152 acres on State Game Lands 42 in Cambria, Somerset and Westmoreland counties.

n 1,537 acres on State Game Lands 26 in counties Bedford, Blair, Cambria and Somerset.

n 3,131 acres on State Game Land 314 in Erie County.

n 12,670 acres on State Game Lands 295 in Center and Clinton counties.

Oliver was also instrumental in creating Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener program, which remains the largest single investment in environmental finance in the state. A portion of that money — $20 million — was set aside for the Game Commission and used for major infrastructure upgrades in commission buildings and wildlife areas, including improvements to roads, dams, and bridges.

Oliver remains an avid outdoor enthusiast and a tireless advocate for both hunting and scientific wildlife management of Commonwealth wildlife. His career is a profound legacy of conservation work.

The Game Commission is pleased and proud to recognize and honor him with this award and to encourage others to follow in his footsteps.