Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Lynne Kiesling

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is a great example of private initiative and willingness to “walk the talk” in private “internalization” of environmental “externalities” (for background on why I am putting these things in quotes, see this post on the Energy Star certification and irrelevant externalities, this post on network reliability as a public good, and this post on network reliability as a differentiated product; much of what is true for networks is also true for environmental interdependencies).

Hawk Mountain’s history is fascinating. The Pennsylvania government had put a bounty on the head of goshawks, and in 1929 the bounty of $5/bird was a decent income. So the goshawk was hunted almost to extinction. Conservationist Rosalie Edge saw news articles and pictures depicting the carnage, and took action:

In 1934, Mrs. Edge came to Hawk Mountain and leased 1,400 acres. She installed a warden on the property, a New England bird enthusiast named Maurice Broun, and Maurice’s wife and bird conservation partner, Irma Broun. The shooting stopped immediately and the next year, Mrs. Edge opened the Sanctuary to the public as a place to see the beautiful but persecuted birds of prey. She purchased and deeded the 1,400 acres to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association, incorporated in 1938 as a non-profit organization in Pennsylvania.

Hawk Mountain was the first private nonprofit wildlife sanctuary in the U.S., and it continues to this day in its mission of raptor preservation and public education.