Land Conservancy closer to Boneyard Ridge deal

Originally posted in The Daily Astorian on May 11th, 2015

North Coast Land Conservancy receives grant to buy Boneyard Ridge

A creek high on Boneyard Ridge. Photo by Neal Maine

A creek high on Boneyard Ridge. Photo by Neal Maine

SEASIDE — North Coast Land Conservancy recently was selected to receive $524,000 from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board toward the purchase of Boneyard Ridge, a 360-acre parcel of commercial timberland threaded with salmon-bearing streams on the northeast slope of Tillamook Head.

“Receiving the OWEB grant is a critical step for this amazing project,” NCLC Executive Director Katie Voelke said.

Boneyard Ridge is tucked between conserved lands in Ecola State Park and the conservancy’s own 364-acre Circle Creek Habitat Reserve south of Seaside. Purchase of this property will carry forward a legacy that was first envisioned in the 1930s, when the fledgling Oregon State Park system and some very generous Oregon families first created Ecola State Park. The Land Conservancy is helping to advance that vision by creating a connected, conserved region of more than 3,500 contiguous acres stretching from the summit of Tillamook Head to the Necanicum River valley and floodplain, according to a press release.

Its stewardship goal for this property is to allow it to mature into a complex rainforest of the kind that once characterized headlands all along the Northern Oregon Coast.

Owners of the property are asking $1.8 million for Boneyard Ridge. To date NCLC has secured $560,000, including the watershed board’s funds.

“When funders at the state level invest with a half a million dollars, that’s proof you’ve got something special.” Voelke said. “We’re excited to work with our community to raise the rest of the money and conserve the natural and recreational wonderland of Tillamook Head, forever.”

In February, 113 people contributed $25,231.75 for conservancy founder Neal Maine’s 75th birthday. The donations helped the organization more than double a $10,000 matching grant challenge from the Mintkeski Family Fund and put about $35,000 toward the acquisition of Boneyard Ridge.

NCLC is seeking additional funds from a variety of sources, including public agencies and private foundations. The land trust plans to complete acquisition of Boneyard Ridge by the end of 2016.

Based in Seaside, North Coast Land Conservancy has been working since 1986 to conserve and connect the landscape of the Oregon Coast from the Columbia River to northern Lincoln County. The private, nonprofit land trust works to ensure that this region is a place where healthy communities of people, plants and wildlife can all thrive.

For more information, visit NCLCtrust.org