Mohonk Preserve Co-founder Dan Smiley recording observations on the land in 1984.

The mission of Mohonk Preserve is to protect the Shawangunk Mountains region and inspire people to care for, enjoy and explore their natural world.


As a leader in protecting the Shawangunks, Mohonk Preserve sets the standard for mountain stewardship. Using science to guide land management, the Preserve teaches others to conserve an ecosystem designated by The Nature Conservancy as one of the “Earth’s Last Great Places.”


Mohonk Preserve:

  • Protects the Shawangunk ecosystem through land management practices based on sound ecological research;
  • Preserves the cultural landscape in harmony with its history and heritage;
  • Provides education for children and adults that increase their understanding of the relationships between themselves and nature; and
  • Promotes responsible recreation and quiet enjoyment of the land in keeping with its fragility, serenity, and natural beauty.

Core Values

We believe that we should:

  • Have a passion for and a connection to nature that reflects an ethical relationship to the land entrusted to us;
  • Pursue excellence in all our endeavors, with careful planning, flexibility, and an openness to new ideas that further our mission;
  • Act with respect and integrity toward all those connected to the Preserve and cooperate and live in harmony with our neighbors; and
  • Recognize and appreciate the teamwork between staff, board, and volunteers that makes fulfilling our mission possible.


Mohonk Preserve abides by the Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice developed by the Panel on the Non Profit Sector with encouragement from the U.S. Congress. We follow the Land Trust Alliance’s national Standards and Practices to operate in an ethical, legal, and technically sound manner and ensure the long-term protection of land in the public interest.

Legal Compliance and Public Disclosure

The Preserve complies with all applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations and meets its obligation for public disclosure through a Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy, a Whistleblower Policy, and other such measures. An Employee Handbook and Board of Directors Manual guide our practices and standards of conduct. The Preserve retains professional legal counsel and seeks legal advice when appropriate. You can view the Preserve’s latest annual financial statements and Certificate of Incorporation.

Effective Governance

The Preserve’s Board of Directors oversees the organization through standing committees on all program areas and on governance, personnel, finance, and auditing. A Strategic Plan is reviewed and updated at regular intervals. We develop work plans and conduct performance reviews of staff annually. Objective external data on nonprofits support decisions on compensation and benefits.

Strong Financial Oversight

The Preserve conducts its financial affairs in accordance with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). The Preserve undergoes an independent annual audit. An Audit Committee helps determine that the Preserve acts with fiduciary responsibility and the Preserve follows best practices in internal controls and risk management. Budgets are developed annually; financial statements are reviewed quarterly to ensure adherence of expenditures to the budget. Sound investment policies and procedures guide management of financial assets, and the Preserve has a spending rule of 5 percent of the market value of invested assets. For more information, contact the Associate Director of Accounting, HR and Administration.

Responsible Fundraising

The Preserve adheres to standards of the National Council on Planned Giving and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. As an organization defined under Section 501c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the Preserve adheres to the regulations, rules, and guidelines of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. We comply with charity laws of all states. See our Candid charity profile for more information. Mohonk Preserve has achieved the Candid Platinum Seal of Transparency, demonstrating the Preserve’s deep commitment to nonprofit transparency and accountability. We are also accredited by the Better Business Bureau, having met their 20 Standards for Charity Accountability covering governance, effectiveness, finances, and fundraising. See our Better Business Bureau review for more information.

More than 70 percent of the Preserve’s annual budget is spent directly on programs. Contribute magazine’s 2007 listing of the top 200 charities in the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area named the Mohonk Preserve as one of the top donor-worthy charities in recognition of institutional stability and lean and efficient operations.

All contributions to the Preserve are used consistent with donors’ intent and as promised in fundraising solicitations. Donor-directed funds are used only in accordance with written agreements, and permanently restricted donor endowments are invested with the principal being non-invadable. The Preserve has Gift Acceptance and Acknowledgment Policies and Procedures for all types of gifts. The administration and accounting of charitable gifts and memberships are reviewed regularly.

For more information, contact the Director of Development.

Banner photo by Gerald Liddelow