Greenthal Conservation Easement

Lopez Island

Year Protected: 2018

Land Protected: 25 acres

Public Benefits: Mixed forest, rocky balds, proximity to other protected lands

Kip and Sidney Greenthal

Rain showers played tag with sunshine one morning in early June, 2019, when Kip and Stanley Greenthal welcomed a visitor to their Lopez island home. They live on 25 wooded acres atop Pavey Hill, a prominent rise near Mud Bay. “There are lots of vistas from up here,” Stanley said. “A pair of eagles comes to visit the hill every day.” Just then, an olive-sided flycatcher whistled its distinctive song, “It’s ME here! Let’s BE here!” This peaceful hilltop is indeed a wonderfully hospitable place just to be, like that whimsical flycatcher.

Kip and Stanley were both born in New York City and met some 30 years later on Lopez. Since then, they’ve commuted between Pavey Hill and Seattle, where Kip worked in libraries and schools, eventually founding and directing Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program. She’s also a writer. Stanley, an internationally renowned professional musician, composes and performs world folk music, performing on the guitar and several other stringed instruments.

The Greenthals donated a conservation easement on their property to the Preservation Trust in 2018. They were motivated, in part, by long-term economics: By reducing the tax value of their land, the easement makes owning the property more affordable for them and, potentially, for their heirs.

Even more compelling for Kip and Stanley, the conservation easement ensures that their 25 acres, comprised of 13 tax parcels, will always remain intact and undeveloped—for the sake of their children, grandchildren (who love visiting!), and all future generations of people and wildlife. And it’s in a relatively undeveloped part of Lopez with other protected properties nearby, creating another permanent “island” of refuge for wildlife on a prominent hill.

“With all the worries about global warming,” Kip said, “there’s something very pleasurable and fulfilling about maintaining a property to be ‘forever wild,’” as the easement stipulates.

Smiling broadly, she added, “I love that term, ‘forever wild!’”