Emmett Conway Sr. enshrined in ODNR Hall of Fame

Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Deputy Director Robert Boyles presented Emmett Conway Sr.’s family with the ODNR Hall of Fame award on Sunday, April 27. Pictured are (left to right): Executive Director of the Ohio Forestry Association John Dorka, Robert Boyles, and Emmett Conway Sr.’s children: Carol Jean Yegerlehner, Barbara Elbert, Sandy Morrissey, Emmett Conway Jr., Jenny Pesta and Richard Conway.

COLUMBUS — The late Emmett Conway Sr. was recently inducted into the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Hall of Fame.

The award was presented April 27 to Conway’s family at the Lake Hope State Park Dining Lodge in McArthur.

Conway, who died in 2009, was a pioneer in forestry throughout his professional life and an expert in regional Ohio history.

“Emmett’s commitment to forestry research and conservation throughout Ohio is unparalleled,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “He was a man of great vision and determination, and his efforts to understand and protect Ohio’s forests will continue to benefit Ohioans for countless generations.”

Started in Youngstown

His career began as a park forester in Youngstown, but he soon found a home in the vast forest lands of southeast Ohio and served as the forest ranger at Zaleski State Forest and Lake Hope Park, where he oversaw construction of Ohio’s first state park lodge.

Boyles said single-handedly inventoried nearly 140,000 acres of state forest land by hiking more than 500 miles of timber inventory lines over the course of a year.

“The data he collected more than 60 years ago is still being utilized by our foresters today.”

Vision for Vinton

Conway eventually became superintendent of timberlands for D.B. Frampton and Company in McArthur, which at the time had the largest sawmill in Ohio and owned more than 75,000 acres of land.

During his time at Frampton, Conway was instrumental in creating the Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest on 1,800 acres of Frampton property in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, which is now part of the Vinton Furnace State Forest.

He started working at Ohio University in 1964, where he worked in research for industrial and tourism planning until he retired in 1976.

He was a lifelong member of the Ohio Forestry Association and was the founder and chairman of the first Paul Bunyan Show in McArthur in 1957.

Conway founded the South Central Ohio Preservation Society (SCOPS) in 1966 and was an active tree farmer for 50 years.

ODNR previously recognized Conway as a Friend of the Forest, an award given to individuals who have made significant contributions to forestry.

The ODNR Hall of Fame awards program was established in 1966, and it is a top honor for individuals who have made significant contributions to preserving and protecting the state’s water, soil, woodlands, wildlife and mineral resources.

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