Mokoma Conservancy

History of the Mokoma Conservancy

Mokoma Foundation and Conservancy (MFC) was organized in July, 2001, when the Articles of Incorporation as a Non-Profit Corporation were approved by PA Department of State, with Incorporators listed as: Scott A. Williams. James C. Rogers, and Wilson Ferguson.

On September 5, 2001, the Internal Revenue Service approved application as a 501(C)(3) Corporation, eligible to receive charitable donations.

The first Annual Membership meeting was held on September 3, 2001, and at that time By-Laws were approved, Trustees elected, and committees formed. During the following year 167 Charter Members joined the organization, and $41,593 in tax free donations were received. Officers elected were: Scott Williams, President; Tom Dempsey, V. President; Ben Duke, Secretary; Jim Rogers, Treasurer.

At the Annual Meeting in Sept. 2002 revisions to the original By-Laws were approved by the membership.

In 2002, in cooperation with the North Central Pennsylvania Conservancy, the MFC applied for a grant through PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, seeking funds to assist in the purchase of 248 acres west of Lake Mokoma, previously owned by Conklin Run Development Corporation, which had recently been purchased by Lake Mokoma Association to protect the Lake's watershed from development. An Agreement was executed between North Central PA Conservancy and Mokoma Foundation and Conservancy to purchase the 248 acres from Lake Mokoma Association.

A grant was awarded for $350,000 from DCNR; MFC signed a note for $177,500 to Lake Mokoma Association; and LMA contributed $172,000 to make up the total cost of the property. After months of meetings and negotiations, and the very generous contributions of members and friends, our Conservancy took title to the Conklin Run Tract in 2003.

Also, in 2003, the Adopt-an-Acre program was initiated, the first "Summer Sizzler” was held at the new Pavilion in Laporte, and the 50/50 raffle also raised funds, change of name to MOKOMA CONSERVANCY was approved, Midge Crystle was elected President, and the fund raising events continued.

The Conklin Run Wilderness Area was dedicated in June 2004 at a ceremony at the location of the future sign to be erected to honor and acknowledge all those who had Adopted an Acre of CRWA. Initial clearing of trails was done, and introductory hikes were planned by the Program committee.

In the following two years our fund raising activities continued. We were enrolled in the Clean and Green Program which saved considerable tax obligations to the County. John Deckard worked with Forester Jim Roberts to have a Forest Stewardship Plan done. We received a grant for deer fencing around a 40 acre plot at CR WA; work on trails for hiking continued.

In August 2006 the final payment on our note was made to Lake Mokoma Association and presented at their annual meeting. The Conservancy's total cost toward the purchase of CRWA, including legal costs, totaled $181,000.

Also in 2006, through the efforts of Ruth Rode and Wilson Ferguson, new trails were established and blazed. Our Fifth Anniversary was marked by the first golf tournament and the Summer Sizzler event at Kennedy's home, both very successful fund raisers. Mokoma Conservancy was qualified as a Land Trust after being in operation for five years, which makes it possible for us to apply for grants.

In June 2007 the sign to honor our Adopt-an-Acre donors was erected in the wooden post and roof structure by Joe Bird. There were 40 donors at that time, and they contributed a major part of our fund raising efforts. The deer fencing around 40 acres at CRWA was completed, and plans made for planting a variety of trees inside the fence. Rosanne Mistretta, Chair of Program Committee, announced a schedule of nature programs and hikes for the summer months, and the 2nd Golf Outing was held at Mill Race Golf Club.

(Submitted by Pat Heim when she was Secreatry of the Conservancy)