The Reddick family first came to Orcas Island in the 1890s, and now, thanks to Art Reddick and his sister Madeline Reddick Haffey, a part of the family’s rich island heritage will live on at the Reddick Nature Preserve.
In 2002, Art and Madeline donated 1.5 acres on Enchanted Forest Road to the San Juan Preservation Trust. While the parcel is small, it preserves a portion of a locally rare forested bog and protects a number of old-growth Sitka spruce and western red cedar. Beneath these towering crowns, hemlock and Douglas fir seedlings compete for sparse light with salmonberry and sword fern. The forest floor is littered with moss-coated fallen logs, and in midwinter, scattered still-black pools are covered with decaying alder leaves.
Art, who hunted for deer and pheasant on the land when he was growing up, remembers a development plan that his family once had for the place. The property contains quantities of peat, and his dad tried to start a business marketing “Reddick-Ready-Grow,” but the venture folded before the mining began.
The Reddicks have a long and fascinating history on Orcas. Art and Madeline’s grandparents first settled in the Olga area before moving to their place just west of Eastsound where they opened a health spa called “The Bonnie Brae” in 1907. The Reddick farmhouse, recently taken down, is where many islanders were born with the help of Art’s grandmother, who was a midwife. Art worked many jobs during his years on the island, including helping build the Mountain Lake trail in Moran State Park when he was with the Civilian Conservation Corps, and operating the island’s first phone company with his wife, Edna.
“The Preservation Trust is deeply honored by this gift from the Reddick family,” said (former) Trustee Anne Hay. “It’s a wonderful reminder of how people’s relationships to land spans the generations and brings together so many aspects of what we cherish as islanders.”
A plaque commemorating the family’s 100+ year history on Orcas has been placed on the property, which will be managed by the Preservation Trust as the Reddick Nature Preserve.