Easement Created By:
Don and Anne-Marie Schwerin
2010 & 2013
Don Schwerin’s family has been farming their land in the hills above Dixie for almost 100 years. Sprawling over nearly 500 acres, the Schwerin farm exemplifies the scenic beauty of the Blue Mountains’ 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 his 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 his visitors.
In recent years, Don and his wife Anne-Marie have been troubled by new development on farmland surrounding their home. “I guess it’s an old-fashioned idea,” Don says, “but I want the land to stay the way it’s been.”
To ensure the things they love about their land wouldn’t be lost, the Schwerins conveyed two conserva on easements to the Blue Mountain Land Trust. The first easement protects the property’s existing homesite and prohibits any development outside a designated building envelope. The second easement encourages continued farming of the wheatfields and protects wildlife habitat along the creeks and hillsides.
Don and Anne-Marie donated the first easement. They chose to sell the second easement but for less than 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.