Game Commission Head To Retire
Upon his retirement in January, Carl G. Roe will have spent more than eight years heading the agency.
In making his announcement this week, Roe said it has been his pleasure to serve Pennsylvania’s hunters and outdoor enthusiasts while working to benefit the state’s wildlife.
“Serving with the Game Commission, particularly in the role of executive director, has been a great honor and privilege,” Roe said. “I take pride and satisfaction in the years I’ve spent here, and our many, many achievements.
“I’ll never stop caring about Pennsylvania’s wildlife, but the time is right for me to step into retirement, where I’ll have more time to spend outdoors enjoying it,” he said.
Upon his retirement Jan. 17, Roe will leave behind a lengthy list of accomplishments, some of which predate his appointment as executive director.
Roe joined the Game Commission in 2001 as the agency’s firstever long-range strategic planner. The Game Commission’s strategic plan, which charts a course for present and future wildlife management statewide, is a product of his efforts.
Among its many objectives, the plan contains one of Roe’s most well-known guiding philosophies – that Pennsylvanians should understand the Game Commission plays an integral role in the encounters people have with wildlife. To that end, Roe developed the “Connect with Wildlife” slogan the commission has used for several years.
Roe later was named director of the commission’s Bureau of Administrative Services, where he spearheaded a transition to electronic hunting-license sales. Today, the Pennsylvania Automated License System helps nearly 1 million hunters annually to purchase licenses.
The Board of Game Commissioners in December 2005 unanimously selected Roe as executive director.
At the agency’s helm, Roe chalked countless achievements. More than 50,000 acres were added to the state gamelands system during his tenure. He oversaw the expansion of bear season to four days, including a Saturday opener. He implemented the Mentored Youth Hunting Program. He helped establish wild pheasant recovery areas and doubled to 200,000 the number of pheasants released annually. He helped to enact a permit only fisher trapping season in select areas of the state. He shifted the focus of the deer management program to take into account things like the herd’s health and habitat – a change that was lauded by independent outside audits.
And, of course, bald eagles continued their remarkable comeback, and biggest population gains, during Roe’s tenure.
The list goes on and on.
All the while, Roe earned a reputation for being an approachable leader.
Robert Schlemmer, president of the Board of Game Commissioners, said Roe’s charismatic personality and his willingness to openly answer questions from the state’s sportsmen are among the qualities that will make him hard to replace.
“He’s been quite an ambassador for hunters and other Pennsylvanians who enjoy wildlife, and the type of enthusiasm he brings to the job you just don’t find every day,” Schlemmer said.
Schlemmer said the board will consider both internal and external candidates in finding the most-qualified person to replace Roe as administrator. He said the decision-making process will be guided by the board’s policy manual, and that the commissioners are seeking a comprehensive search and a smooth transition.
“The board wishes Director Roe the very best in his retirement,” Schlemmer said. “His service to wildlife, sportsmen, sportswomen and the citizens of the Commonwealth shall remain his legacy for generations to come.”
Roe’s work with the Game Commission represents his second career.
He served with the U.S. Army from 1970 to 2000, taking part in combat tours in Vietnam and El Salvador and retiring with the rank of colonel. At his retirement, he was director of the Americas Studies at the U.S. Army War College’s Department of National Security & Strategy, where he taught strategic planning for national security.
Roe is a lifelong scholar, earning a master’s degree in public administration from Penn State University; a master’s degree in management from Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., a master’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of Texas; and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
A native of Wayne, Montgomery County, Roe grew up hunting and fishing in Pennsylvania, and continued these activities during his young adulthood on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Woodcock Limited and the National Rifle Association.
Roe currently resides in Carlisle with his wife, Ines. They have two daughters: Courtney and Ashley.