Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award
Rozell A. Stidd
Rozell A. Stidd, a conservation officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pennsylvania Game Commission who later was appointed as a Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commissioner, has been named the recipient of the 2004 Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award. The honor is the highest recognition the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission can confer on persons who distinguish themselves in the cause of conservation. It will be presented to Commissioner Stidd January 24 at 1 p.m. as part of the Commission’s winter quarterly meeting.
Stidd distinguished himself by outstanding service in the cause of conservation and protection and management of fisheries resources over a lifetime of service. Stidd was sworn in as a Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission on June 19, 2001. Nominated by former Governor Ridge and confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate, Stidd served on the 10-member board of Commissioners until his retirement in June 2003 for health reasons.
During the Commission's April 2005 meeting, Commissioner Rozelle A. Stidd (center) received the 2004 Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award, the Commission's highest recognition for distinguished conservation accomplishment. Commission President Sam Concilla (left) presented Stidd with a framed trout/salmon stamp print, and Commission Executive Director Dr. Doug Austen presented Stidd with a flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol in Stidd's honor.
Born on May 14, 1921, at Guffey (a small oil-boom village on the Kinzua Creek) in McKean County, Commissioner Stidd became a fisherman at the age of four years. He has been an avid trout fisherman for his entire life. The oldest in a family of three boys, Stidd graduated from high school in June 1939 at Mt. Jewett, McKean County.
In December 1939, he enlisted in the United States Regular Army Air Corps. During World War II, he served with the 8th Fighter Group in the Pacific Theatre as a crew chief and engine change specialist on fighter aircraft at dozens of different combat air bases all over the Southwest Pacific, earning five bronze campaign stars. In June 1946, Commissioner Stidd enrolled as a student officer as part of the 4th Game Protector class at the Ross Leffler School. In June 1947, he completed the 12-month course required at that time, and was commissioned as a District Game Protector.
In late 1951, he resigned his commission in order to accept employment with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an Alaska Enforcement Agent, in the interior of the territory of Alaska. From December 1951 until January 1954, he served a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service district north of the Alaska Range, with headquarters at McGrath, Alaska.
In January 1954, Commissioner Stidd returned to service as a District Game Protector in northwestern Potter County. In January 1962, he was promoted to Law Enforcement Supervisor in the Southcentral Division Office at Huntingdon. In June 1972, Stidd was promoted to Supervisor of the Game Commission's Hunting License Section (under the Division of Administration) in Harrisburg. He retired from Commonwealth employment with the Game Commission in 1978.
Even though Commissioner Stidd’s employment was with the Game Commission, his lifelong love of fishing, in general, and trout fishing in particular made him a leader in conservation. He has long been an active member of Trout Unlimited, and both before, during and after his term as a Commissioner, he was a leader in efforts to protect public fishing opportunities by having the Little Juniata River declared a public navigable waterway of the Commonwealth. Commissioner Stidd’s account of the trout populations of the Little J and his exploits as a fly angler on this river helped emphasize the importance of maintaining public fishing rights on this waterway.
“The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Rozell A. Stidd in a lifetime of service to the cause of conservation reflect great credit upon him and truly warrant his selection as the 2004 winner of the Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award,” said Commission Executive Director Douglas Austen.
Commissioner Stidd is the third former member of the Fish and Boat Commission to earn the prestigious Abele Award. He joins former Commissioners Leonard Green and Enoch “Inky” Moore as a recipient of this award.
Commissioner Stidd is married and resides in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. He has three adult children.