• Photograph copyright © Capitol Land Trust Photograph copyright © Capitol Land Trust
  • Photograph copyright © Capitol Land Trust otters Photograph copyright © Capitol Land Trust
  • Photograph copyright © Capitol Land Trust trees Photograph copyright © Capitol Land Trust

Edwards Conservation Easement

Conserved in 1992 and enlarged in 2001

Property Overview:

• 50 acres located in the Dempsey Creek Watershed north of Littlerock in central Thurston County.

• The Edwards Conservation Easement conserves extensive wooded wetland and bog areas.

• The forested wetland is mostly composed of Oregon ash, Sitka spruce, western hemlock, western redcedar and skunk cabbage, providing habitat for black-tailed deer, pileated woodpecker, Oregon spotted frog (proposed threatened listing by the Endangered Species Act), black bears and great blue herons.

• The wetlands feed into Dempsey Creek, which provides rearing habitat for salmonids.

Thank you to the following partners:

• David Edwards & Peggy Bruton-Edwards
• Fred Thompson
• Thurston County
• WA State Department of Ecology—Mark Bentley and Richard Gersib
• Agua Tierra Environmental—Christian Formuth
• The Nature Conservancy

CLT Strategic Conservation Goal Achieved:

• Conserve wetlands, riparian areas, and associated upland forests.

Edwards Easement

by Peggy Bruton-Edwards
(Fall 1994)

Before we moved to Olympia we lived in southern Italy, where we had a small apartment with a terrazzo, but no land at all. We crammed as much green as we could onto our little balcony; herbs for the pasta, small trees, succulents, native plants of all kinds; we laughed about our contribution to combating the Greenhouse Effect. Global warming, and especially, the quickening pace of deforestation worldwide, was much discussed in the Italian press and by ordinary Italians. We shared their concern, and thought a lot about how we could make a difference beyond the terrace garden.

We left Italy in 1991 to settle here, in a modest house on a small lot, near our grandchildren. Like most newcomers, we found the environmental and economic damage left by the runaway chainsaws of the 1980's seriously disturbing. And every grove of mature forest seemed vulnerable. We decided to look for some land to preserve or restore, and to make sure (short of natural catastrophe) it would be there for our grandchildren's generation.

One hot June day, a helpful real estate agent took us to a 40-acre wooded wetland in the Delphi Valley, we also met the owner, a delightful live-wire octogenarian (and then some) named Fred Thompson. Standing in the cool green shade of a massive Sitka spruce, we talked with Fred about Ohio (where he was born and raised and where I went to college) and about this land. He pointed out "bear sign" in the mud and told us where the bear lived - a big hollow tree back near the northern boundary. He said he thought preservation would be the "highest and best use" of his land. We had to agree.

Although the tract has been designated probable fish rearing habitat and was thus off limits to clearcut logging, we feared some other purchaser might simply ignore the rules, pay the fine, and log away. We began negotiating, and by December of 1992 the deal was done, with special visitation rights for Fred and his family.

Our plans for the land include carrying out small-scale alternative energy experiments (on the logged-over, upland portion), and offering opportunities for ecosystem studies. And the bear, coyote, deer, woodpeckers, owls, et al that call it home can carry on as usual. It's a great comfort to know that, with the help of the Capitol Land Trust, this wetland forest will be here when we are history.