Wynne family completes gift to southwest Washington valued at almost $2 million
Olympia—The entire 530-acre Wynne Farm has now been conserved, protecting most of the upper Schneider Creek valley, announced Capitol Land Trust today. The Wynne Farm is one of southwest Washington’s signature working-lands properties, containing a vibrant mix of forests, streams and wetlands. The Wynne family sustainably harvests trees, while protecting water quality and wildlife habitat. Forests on the property protect Schneider Creek, a vital salmon stream that empties to the Kennedy Creek Natural Area Preserve on Totten Inlet, along Puget Sound in Thurston County.
Seven years ago, Tom and Charlene Wynne donated a conservation easement to Capitol Land Trust on 355 acres of their sustainably-managed tree farm. Today’s announcement recognizes the signing of a second conservation easement on an additional 175 acres in the incredible Schneider Creek valley. Now, the 530-acre property will never be subdivided or developed.
“The family—from Tom’s parents to Tom and me—wanted to ensure the property never got broken up and developed, and wanted to keep the property as wildlife habitat,” said Charlene Wynne.
The farm’s forested hillsides rise steeply from the valley floor, where hayfields, flooded in part by beavers, provide habitat for native amphibians. Hawks and other raptors look from overhead for movement in the grass, and elk, cougar and other large mammals feed along the edge of the forests and fields. Streams flow for 3.5 miles through the property, tumbling down from the hills to empty into wetlands along the valley floor. This clean, cool freshwater flows through the Kennedy Creek Natural Area Preserve and estuary, to the benefit of salmon and the health of Puget Sound. Conservation of the upper Schneider Creek—when added to the Kennedy Creek Preserve—effectively protects about 10% percent of the entire stream system’s habitats.
“The Wynnes are true heroes in our community. They recognized the value of their lands – for open space, wildlife habitat and protecting our water – and made the ultimate commitment to ensure these values remain for future generations. Completing this conservation agreement also took the help of the County and many Capitol Land Trust members and is a testament that conservation is critical to our community’s well-being,” said Amanda Reed, Capitol Land Trust’s Executive Director.
Funding to complete the conservation easement process and to ensure long-term stewardship of the land was provided by Thurston County’s Conservation Futures Program, Capitol Land Trust members and the Steamboat Conservation Partnership, a unique collaboration between the Griffin Neighborhood Association and Capitol Land Trust.
The Wynne family has owned property in the Schneider Creek Valley since 1916, and Tom and Charlene hold a powerful connection to the land. They lovingly manage the land as a tree farm, giving equal consideration to their family business and to the environment. Harvesting trees in small patches with 75 years between cuttings protects water quality and enables the property’s forests to remain healthy. In 1990, the Wynne Tree Farm was awarded the national “Green Tag” for sustainable forest management — only the fifth in the state to achieve this honor!
Wynne Conservation Easement Project Partners
– Tom and Charlene Wynne
– Thurston County Conservation Futures Program
– Mark Peternell – Bean Gentry Wheeler & Peternell, PLLC
– Steamboat Conservation Partnership
About Capitol Land Trust
Capitol Land Trust is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to conserving and caring for the unique natural areas and working lands within southwest Washington. Since 1987, Capitol Land Trust has worked with partners to permanently protect more than 14 miles of Puget Sound shoreline and 5,000 acres in Thurston, Mason, Grays Harbor and Lewis Counties. Capitol Land Trust is accredited by the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission and upholds the highest standards and practices for land trusts.
Learn more about Capitol Land Trust at CapitolLandTrust.org.
For more information, please contact:
Amanda Reed – Executive Director
Capitol Land Trust
209 4th Avenue East, Ste 205
Olympia, WA 98501