It’s difficult to envision what a place will be like 500 years from now, but that is exactly what Leslie Parrish-Bach has tried to do with the 230-acre Spring Hill Wildlife Sanctuary on Mt. Woolard on Orcas Island. With her plan, most of the broad sweep of mountainside, with a beautiful second-growth forest, will remain natural, just as it is right now. Well into the next millennium, residents of and visitors to Orcas will enjoy broad views of the lower slope with only a few carefully-sited structures to be seen near the ridge tops.
Parrish-Bach and her former husband, Richard Bach, donated conservation easements in a series of several transactions over a number of years, that now protect 168 acres of forest land and wildlife habitat.
“Early in my life, I read a book by Albert Schweitzer about walking lightly on the earth and leaving no footprints,” explains Parrish-Bach. “His concept of reverence for life formed my basic philosophy and is behind all the work I’ve done on Spring Hill.”
Parrish-Bach has created 11 homesites within the entire acreage and separate from the easement-protected land, which surrounds the sites. According to Parrish-Bach, the homes will be spread throughout the forests and will blend into them through the use of earth tones and low density—one home per 21 acres—to impact the surrounding community as little as possible.
“It’s a dream come true and one of the best things I’ve done in my life,” says Parrish-Bach. “You don’t have to have children to enjoy the idea of preserving land for future generations. It’s what I’m most proud of, and it will surely, more than any other work I’ve ever done, be the accomplishment that outlasts me.”