In the cabin of a lovely, 40-acre, richly forested Lopez Island estate is a birdwatcher’s log book established by Ward Beecher, the great grandson of Henry Ward Beecher.* Descendant of the celebrated preacher and abolitionist, Ward and his wife, Doris, were residents of Seattle and avid birders. Ostensibly making trips to Lopez to visit their son, Hal, or their daughter, Josie, who originally owned the Lopez property, Ward and Doris would, immediately upon arrival, lose themselves in the woods and wetland areas to observe eagles, osprey and great blue herons. When Josie purchased a Lopez farm that was more conducive to her sheep-farming ambitions, her parents purchased the forested property from her. It was an ideal situation for Ward and Doris: children and grandchildren close by, pileated woodpeckers sounding the morning alarm, songbirds enlivening the surrounding forest, and what would become their final resting place.
Ward and Doris Beecher chose to place a conservation easement on, and then bequeath their treasured Lopez forest and wetlands to, the Preservation Trust, retaining for their daughter Josie the right to reside on and enjoy the property through her lifetime. When asked if she, also, was a birder, Josie responded, “How could I not be? It was bred into me.” Clearly, Ward and Doris endowed to their children a love of the San Juan Islands, and of the birds they so enjoyed. Josie and her family continue to live on a reserved 5-acre portion of the property while a small network of locally accessible trails ramble through the remaining 35-acres. Ward and Doris’ generous legacy to the Preservation Trust will be protected in perpetuity and appreciated for generations to come.
* – One of Henry Ward Beecher’s sisters was Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
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