Henigson Conservation Easement

Orcas Island

Year Protected: 1999

Land Protected: 18 acres

Public Benefits: Wetlands, open fields

Eighteen acres of wetlands and open fields along Deer Harbor Road on Orcas will remain pastoral, thanks to a conservation easement donated to the Preservation Trust by Phyllis and Bob Henigson.  The Henigson easement insures that only one home will be built on the 18-acre parcel.

“I grew up in southern California, and I used to hike and camp in many of the places that are gone now,” says Bob Henigson, who lived across the road from the newly-protected land.  “Phyllis and I have so enjoyed the bucolic character of that meadow, and we wanted to preserve it for eternity, just as it is now.”

This easement is especially significant for its open space value in a neighborhood on Orcas where there are many residences.  Preserving the wetlands helps maintain a natural area in which ground water can collect and recharge, and important consideration in Deer Harbor where the fresh water supply is limited.

Two years prior to the donation of the this conservation easement, the Henigsons  envisioned a village park in the vacant lots between Prune Alley and the Orcas Library.  To preserve some open, green space in the village and augment access to the library grounds at the same time, the Henigsons purchased the property, protected it with a conservation easement with the Trust, and donated the land to the county.  To maintain and care for the park they also established a fund to which others have also generously contributed.

“Obviously, I feel strongly about preservation,” Henigson said. “I think that each of us, individually, needs to make a more determined effort to prevent the environmental degradation which invariably accompanies rampant development.  And we don’t have to rely on government to downzone everything; we can do it ourselves.”