When the beautiful 13-acre property next to theirs came up for sale in 2002, Willy and Vreni Borner were thrilled to have an opportunity to buy it. For 10 years they had enjoyed looking over the extensive wetland edged with meadow and towering forest, and knew that they wanted it preserved.
Previous owners Keith Jefferts and Lynn Bahrych were stewards of the land for 20 years, and valued it as a bird sanctuary and important recovery and hold area of the Ben Nevis watershed. As new owners, the Borners will continue to honor those same values, and, through the mechanism of a conservation easement, have seen to it they are protected in perpetuity.
“We think the mix of wetland, the grassland edge, and the forested area make this land very special,” Willy explains. “Also, it is rather unusual on Shaw to have an open view of some distance, since much of the island is wooded. Many people enjoy the vista across this property as they drive or walk past.”
The conservation easement specifies an area for structures and sets aside the remainder of the acreage as natural open space, buffering both the wetland and the road corridor from impacts associated with any development. Aside from a small barn adjacent to their existing orchard, the Borners have no plans to build. “We have no pressure to build anything more on this land,” Willy shares. “Every residence brings impacts to the environment – septic tanks, requirements for water, habitat loss . . . this little valley has a wonderful balance as it is right now and we are very happy to have contributed to its protection.”