Susan Camp easement near Colbert protects family land.
When Cathy Bond Anderson and Alfred Anderson bought their land in 1991, Colbert was a rural community. But as more and more people are moving into the area, they saw nearby farms and forests being cut up into residential developments. "We saw the inability of county government to protect open space," said Alfred. "So we decided to do it ourselves."
In 2007 the Andersons conserved their 76 acres of forest land and meadows just above Little Deep Creek near Colbert, Washington by donating a conservation easement to Inland Northwest Land Trust. The easement keeps the entire property intact and prevents subdivision and development. The conservation easement permanently preserves the land as open space, healthy forest, and wildlife habitat. INLT will monitor the land through annual visits to ensure that its conservation values are protected in perpetuity.
The Andersons chose to name the easement after Cathy's great grandmother, Susan Camp, who had purchased the first 40 acres in 1915 from the Bernhill family, for whom Bernhill Road is named. Her family bought the remaining land in the 1950s and Cathy and Alfred bought it in 1991. "My great grandmother was the business woman of the family," says Cathy. "I wanted to honor her."
We have a special opportunity to visit the property on Sunday, June 7 to see the Mountain Lady's Slipper orchids. Click here for information on the orchid tour.
Deer, elk, and moose visit the property. "Cathy's grandfather set aside one of the spring seeps specifically as the 'animal spring'," says Alfred. The easement preserves the land for the animals. There's no habitat unless the forest and water supply are protected." The Andersons are creating more wildlife habitat by converting the alfalfa fields to perennial native grasses.
The Andersons are members of the Washington Farm Forestry Association. "We are managing the forest for some sustainable logging, but primarily it is for habitat," says Alfred. "The forest is the crowning glory of the property."
Public benefits of the easement include preserving open space, water quality and scenic viewshed. The land, which lies within the Little Spokane River watershed, contains springs and a seasonal stream. By reducing development and controlling forestry activities, the easement prevents soil erosion and water contamination. Located in the rolling hills leading up to Mt. Spokane, the easement preserves the scenic beauty of the forests and meadows. "The views from the Susan Camp property are superb. The forested foothills climb the flanks of Mount Spokane," says INLT Executive Director Chris DeForest. "Looking west, the land rolls down to Little Deep Creek and the whole Little Spokane River valley. This easement protects beautiful scenery for the enjoyment of countless people who live in or travel through Colbert."
Cathy and Alfred have lived on the property since 1991. They continue to own and manage the land, including paying property taxes and harvesting timber. Alfred operates a home business designing and building fine furniture in his woodshop on the property.
The Andersons now have the peace of mind that their land is protected forever with a conservation easement. "My family loves it," says Cathy.