Hollyer Prairie

A landowner’s vision of conservation, by Helen Hollyer

Lavender spikes of common camas blanketed the swale and clumps of Oregon tough-leaved iris dotted the higher elevation meadows with blooms ranging from pale violet to deep purple in May 1993 when I first saw the land that I named Illahe Farm.

From the knoll that became my home site, I looked east across the Camas Swale Valley to the Low Cascades overtopped by the pristine white peaks of the Three Sisters silhouetted against a cloud-free blue sky.

I knew immediately that this 87 acres of land was special — just how special, I’ve been learning during the ensuing 17 years that I’ve lived on it.

Recently I took the step of protecting 59undeveloped acres in perpetuity by placing a conservation easement in favor of McKenzie River Trust, which will monitor the restoration, enhancement and preservation of the streams, wetlands, wet prairies, riparian forest, upland prairies, oak savannah and other ecological niches as habitat for native species of plants and animals.

I hope that future owners will be able to continue to share the land with other less common Oregon residents, such as western pond turtles, red-legged frogs, Kincaid’s lupine and Willamette Valley bittercress.

I’ve also entered into partnership with Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council and US Fish & Wildlife in a long-term project to restore and enhance the wetlands and wet prairies.

We are pursuing additional funding for the project from Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and Department of State Land to augment my financial resources.

I am grateful to be able to leave such a legacy to future generations, and hope that other landowners, seeing the pleasure I derive from my relationship with the land and the knowledge that it will survive my demise unchanged, will consider creating legacies of their own.

- Helen Hollyer, May 2010

Key Facts

  • Size: 59 acres
  • Location: West of Creswell in the Coast Fork of the Willamette River Watershed.
  • Acquired in: May 2010
  • How it was protected: The McKenzie River Trust purchased a conservation easement on the property. Funding was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant.