Don Schwerin’s family has been farming their land in the hills above Dixie, Washington for almost 100 years. Sprawling over nearly 500 acres, the Schwerin farm exemplifies the scenic beauty of the Blue Mountain’s foothills. Wheat fields covering most of the property are broken by forested hillsides that provide a home for many species of birds and wildlife. Plum, cherry, and apple trees grow along its three creeks.
Don’s love of this land is obvious.
As he gives a tour, he stops periodically to point out interesting plants and wildlife, tends to the seedlings he has planted and shares a handful of ripe cherries with us.
In recent years, Don and his wife Anne-Marie have been troubled by the new development on farmland surrounding their home. “I guess it’s an old-fashioned idea,” Don said, “but I want the land to stay the way it has been.”
To ensure the things they love about their land wouldn’t be lost, the Schwerins conveyed two conservation easements to the Blue Mountain Land Trust. The easement protects the property’s existing home site and prohibits any development outside a designated building envelope. The second easement encourages continued farming of the wheat fields and protects wildlife habitat along the creeks and hillsides.
Don and Anne-Marie donated their first conservation easement. They chose to sell the second easement but for less than the full value. Funding for it was secured through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program’s Farmland Preservation program. In this case, the Schwerins received both a tax benefit and a substantial payment.
Thank you, Don and Anne-Marie, for dedication to preserving the Blue Mountains for future generations to cherish.