Mary Garst and her five daughters Rachael, Sarah, Liz, Jennifer and Kate, who decided, after the death of their husband and father, Steven Garst, that they wanted to land to remain intact and to serve a higher purpose.
Whiterock Conservancy was founded in 2004 as a non-profit to accept the Garst family donations of a multi-phase gift of nearly 5,000 acres. Whiterock was formed to forever protect the land and keep it in trust for future generations. This is one of the largest land gifts in Iowa’s history. The ongoing operations of Whiterock Conservancy receive no state or federal support and rely on tax-deductible donations, agricultural income and visitor fees.
The non-profit has always had a three part mission: conservation, recreation and education, and sustainable agriculture. In recognition of this mission, Whiterock is a supporting organization for Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Leopold Center.
Whiterock is named after a white sandstone outcropping at the top of a bluff along the Middle Raccoon River seen at the River Campground.
Whiterock is proud to be the caretaker for the Historic Garst Farmstead which was the home to Roswell and Elizabeth Garst and the site of the 1959 visit by Soviet Premiere Nikita Khrushchev. Visitors can learn more about this history while visiting the Garst Farmstead and visiting or staying in the historic Garst farmhouse.