“We knew we weren’t the first people to enjoy this land, and it was really important to us that we aren’t the last,” Valorie Osterman explained when she and her husband Larry made a conservation easement donation on their 20 acres of farm- and forestland on Lopez Island.
“We are both from the East Coast and there’s not much open land left there,” she said. “When we began looking for a place on Lopez, we wanted to find a good-sized piece of land that was as pristine as possible and then make sure it stays that way. Making a conservation easement was always a part of the plan.”
The Osterman’s 20 acres off the south side of Lopez Hill Road includes open fields and raptor habitat. A seasonal stream feeds into farm and wildlife ponds for breeding ducks and marsh birds. Under the terms of the easement, the southern portion will remain open fields and ponds, and the northern wooded part of the property, which abuts Lopez Hill Road, will retain a 100-foot natural buffer to screen two permitted residential structures. The open space can be seen looking north from Mud Bay Road.
“We loved the land right away,” Osterman adds. “It has open space and trees and we can see the water and the mountains to the south. It doesn’t get any better than that.”