Mercer County woodland protected by the Foundation for Sustainable Forests

Staff report


A 128-acre woodland in Otter Creek Township, Mercer County, Pa., has been permanently protected by the Foundation for Sustainable Forests through a charitable bargain sale.

Bargain-sale donors Jean Engle, Glorianne Leck, Ken Jorgensen and Pat Tuchscherer were members of the Moxie Cooperative Community, a group founded in 1970 in central Pennsylvania based on shared values of organics, environmental sustainability and human rights.

The Moxie Cooperative, having moved to Youngstown, purchased the property in 1981 as a woodland retreat under the agreement that it would ultimately be gifted to a nonprofit conservation organization that could carry on its legacy of land stewardship and wildlife habitat preservation.

The charitable bargain sale, in which the land is sold at well below fair market value, was made possible by a private donation of the initial payment.

Under the stewardship of the Foundation for Sustainable Forests, the land will remain an important part of the local community, staying on the tax rolls and providing jobs through active, sustainable forest management.

In keeping with the Moxie Cooperative’s principles, the land will not be leased for gas and oil production. This acquisition, the FSF’s first in Mercer County, furthers its mission to conserve working lands and promote healthy forests, said Guy Dunkle, FSF land manager.

Also the co-founder of Treez Please, a native tree-planting nonprofit in Youngstown, Engle said she has found peace of mind in the donation.

“I am confident that I am leaving Moxie Woods in great hands toward making these forests full of life and a strong future, but also profitable enough to keep these lands from being developed,” she said.

“The protection of this property gives the foundation a chance to share its message of sustainable forestry in a new region. The land will also be the site of events for the community,” Dunkle added.

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