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Historical Marker to be Unveiled Honoring Ralph W. Abele
July 11, 2012
HARRISBURG, Pa. — On Tuesday, July 17 at 2 p.m., a Pennsylvania historical marker will be unveiled honoring former Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) Executive Director Ralph W. Abele (1921-1990) in a dedication ceremony at PFBC headquarters at 1601 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg. Throughout his life, Abele inspired and commanded the fight to save the natural environment. He believed strongly in the right of everyone to "clean air, pure water, and the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment."

As PFBC executive director from January 1972 through May 1987, Abele’s accomplishments garnered him the title of “Lord of the Fish” for his tireless and relentless efforts in protecting water quality against pollution and working to restore American shad to their native Susquehanna River. Abele’s voice and action, as a leader during the beginnings of ecology awareness, called industry to task and empowered individuals with an understanding that they, too, had the power to affect change and protect our natural environment. While the Commission’s direct constituents have been mostly anglers and boaters, it was clear that Abele’s commentary on the nation’s obligation to protect natural resources struck a chord with the greater, general public.

Following his death in 1990, two important legacies for conservation were established in his name: the Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award and the Ralph W. Abele Conservation Scholarship Fund. The award has been presented to such notables in conservation as Dr. Maurice K. Goddard, and the scholarship fund has provided a seed of continued growth for many students with the same aspiration in the field of conservation.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Ralph W. Abele Conservation Scholarship Fund and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will be presenting the marker to the public at the July 17 ceremony. The public is invited to attend with e-mailed R.S.V.Ps accepted through July 13 at

Press contact
Ted Walke

Anglers and boaters can sign up to receive email updates on the activities of the Fish and Boat Commission at The PFBC is also using today’s popular social media. Individuals can stay in touch by following the Commission on Twitter at and through RSS feeds at
The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at
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