The latest of two easements assures 2,540 acres will remain a working forest with wildlife habitat on land owned by Beryl Baker.
In 2009, Baker protected 1,363 acres of the timberland that's been in his family for nearly 50 years.
The land includes 68-acre Baker Lake fed by Beaver Creek and other seasonal tributaries in the Little Spokane Watershed.
The land provides wetland habitat and year-round habitat for deer, elk, moose, bear, cougar and other animals. It's the biggest land package to be preserved by the Spokane-based Inland Northwest Land Trust, which is responsible for managing the easement in perpetuity.
Timber will continue to be harvested in a sustainable fashion under the easement, the INLT says.
Baker, who grew up on a Kahlotus-area wheat farm, purchased the property in 1966 after seeing an ad in the Wall Street Journal. “I needed a change from banking in Seattle,” he said.
“I feel fortunate finding a way to protect the property that has been in my family almost 50 years from division and commercial development. The property can only be used for timber production and wildlife habitat. This will provide the animals with a permanent home.”
“Rural areas are some of the last wild places left untamed in Eastern Washington and landowner Beryl Baker will make sure they stay that way forever,” says Chris DeForest, INLT Executive Director.
A conservation easement is a voluntary, legally binding agreement that limits certain types of uses or prevents development from taking place on a piece of property, generally in perpetuity, to protect the land's ecological and open-space values. The landowner continues to own and manage the land. The Baker property is the 45th conservation easement that Inland Northwest Land Trust holds.
Formed in 1991, Inland Northwest Land Trust is a local non-profit organization that works with willing private landowners to protect the region’s natural lands, waters, and working farms and forests for the benefit of wildlife, our community and future generations. INLT has helped protect over 14,000 acres of prime habitat and working forests in eastern Washington and northern Idaho.
According to the Land Trust Alliance’s 2010 National Land Trust Census, organizations like Inland Northwest Land Trust have conserved over 10 million acres since 2005 despite a down economy.