National Park Trust, Historic Whidbey, National Park Foundation, National Park Service, and numerous local partners worked collectively this month to preserve one of Washington state’s oldest homes and a critical parcel of shoreline within Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve on Whidbey Island. Thanks to this partnership, the 150 year old Haller House will be preserved, maintaining the historical landscape of downtown Coupeville, WA, as well as the shoreline of the property which connects the house to Penn’s Cove.
Interior view of Haller House, portraits of Henrietta and Granville Haller rest on the fireplace mantle, photo courtesy of Historic Whidbey
The Haller House is an exceptional representation of the pioneering life that Americans established in 1860’s Coupeville, WA. The house was initially built in 1859 before Colonel Granville Haller, a Civil War veteran, arrived on Whidbey Island in 1866 and purchased the property. Haller added the larger two-story portion of the home. The property once included a large warehouse and store along the waterfront of Penn’s Cove which supported the town with dry goods through Haller Mercantile.
“Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve was established forty years ago based on the understanding that historic preservation would require close cooperation among all levels of government and between the public and private sector. In celebration of the Reserve’s 40th anniversary, we sincerely appreciate the assistance provided by the National Park Trust in helping to preserve this important heritage asset. Their assistance is a shining example of the Reserve idea in action” noted Roy Zipp, Superintendent, NPS Operations
Now that the home has an easement to protect the historic nature of the property, Historic Whidbey will begin work to revitalize the home to its former glory while keeping the exterior of the house historically accurate. Thanks to an unusual history of ownership, the house has never been modernized and remains mostly historically intact to the late nineteenth century. The house will eventually become a heritage center to tell the history of Washington’s Territorial period.
Though the acreage of this lot is small in comparison to the 19,000+ acres that make up Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, the history of this downtown home and its access to Penn’s Cove made it a critically important parcel for the National Park Service. In 2013, The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation listed the Haller House as one of the state’s ‘Most Endangered Properties.’
“When contacted by the National Park Service about the shortfall of funds needed to complete this important project, we were pleased to be able to respond quickly to close the gap in a timely fashion” said Phil Selleck, National Park Trust’s Park Projects Director. “We saw it as a unique opportunity to keep the historical landscape of pioneer-age Washington intact.”
National Park Trust’s donation to complete the project was provided by NPT board member Kevin Seth, who shared, “as a new member of the board, I was delighted to help National Park Trust in its mission to preserve and protect our critical national parks, especially when there was a sense of urgency to complete this historic project.”
ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST
National Park Trust (NPT) is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. NPT is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of protecting national parks through land acquisition, and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by getting kids to parks. Since 1983, NPT has completed 70 land projects in 31 states, 1 US Territory, and Washington, DC. This school year NPT will provide an estimated 27,000 kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison School Program and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support Title I schools.
The largest privately-held, developed land parcel located inside the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park is now permanently protected federal wilderness thanks to National Park Trust’s (NPT) partnership with The Wilderness Land Trust and Rocky Mountain Conservancy. These three lead organizations worked with a number of local funders and supporters to purchase this critical property within the park, remove the existing two-story house from the property, and return the land to its natural state.
A generous gift from The Barrett Family Foundation to NPT of $150,000 was the final piece of funding that was needed to close the deal.
Images of the site before (left) and after removal of the house (right).
Since 2009, this land has been a high priority parcel that Rocky Mountain National Park sought to permanently protect. A highly coveted lot, the property and house were perched on a rocky overlook and could be seen from every vantage point within the Wild Basin area. With the removal of the house and the access road leading to the property, 33 acres of wilderness (the highest level of conservation protection) will be added to the park. The paved access road will be restricted to foot traffic until it is permanently removed, allowing the public to appreciate the view from the property’s overlook for the first time in nearly 100 years.
“We are pleased to be able to assist in returning this land to its natural state and reopen the area to the public, providing access to a beautiful overlook into the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park, said Phil Selleck, Park Projects Director at National Park Trust. “Our national parks belong to everyone and this once private vista can finally be enjoyed by all and protected for future generations.”
“Rocky Mountain National Park is so appreciative of our partners and staff who have worked hard to add this parcel to the park,” said Darla Sidles, Superintendent of Rocky Mountain National Park. “It is an honor to forever ensure the protection and access of this beautiful Wild Basin area.”
“We are thrilled to see 33 acres of wilderness added to Rocky Mountain National Park,” said Brad Borst, President, The Wilderness Land Trust. “The Wild Basin area of the park provides many outstanding areas for hiking, fishing, and camping. Permanent protection of this property will secure the area from intrusive development on the St. Vrain River. Visitors can now enjoy this property in its natural state, and we sincerelythank all our partners for helping to get the job done.”
ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST
NPT’s mission is preserving parks today; creating park stewards for tomorrow. In the 35 years since NPT was established, the non-profit organization has completed 62 land acquisition, restoration, and mitigation projects in 30 states, 1 U.S. Territory and Washington, D.C. including 49 National Park Service projects. In 2009, NPT launched its nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs which currently supports more than 200 Title I schools across the country. Since 2011, NPT has organized Kids to Parks Day, an annual national celebration of America’s parks hosted on the third Saturday in May.
The Wilderness Land Trust is a small, highly specialized nonprofit organization established to buy and protect wilderness land. Since founded in 1992, the Trust has preserved 432 parcels comprising more than 47,000 acres of wilderness inholdings in 93 designated and proposed wilderness areas across 9 states. The Wilderness Land Trust, a 501(c)(3) organization, has offices in California and Colorado.
August 25th, the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates its 101st birthday (also known as Founders Day) and you are invited! Friday is a fee-free day so anyone can visit a national park site and skip the admission charge. With more than 400 sites across the country, there may be one near you. Click here to search NPS sites by state and go celebrate in a park!
Did you know that on August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act into law, creating the National Park Service? The purpose of the newly formed agency was, and still is, “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
As an official NPS partner, National Park Trust’s mission supports our national parks by preserving these unique historic places and iconic landscapes in perpetuity. We acquire high-priority, privately held land located within or adjacent to the boundaries of our national parks and donate them to NPS for permanent protection. We also cultivate future park stewards and outdoor enthusiasts by engaging youth, especially those who are under-served, with our nation’s numerous parks and public lands.
Speaking of public lands, mark your calendars! The next NPS fee-free day is September 30th in celebration of National Public Lands Day (NPLD). You can support our parks by participating in a service project at many federal public lands and some state parks too. More information on NPLD is available here from our friends at National Environmental Education Foundation(NEEF).
Check out our 2-minute video as 80 4th graders from Donald McKay K-8 School in East Boston set sail last week with Buddy Bison and explored Spectacle Island, a part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Students hiked with park rangers and interpreters learning about the history of the island and its impact on the Boston Harbor.
Our wonderful sponsor The North Face taught the students how to set up a tent and pack a backpack for future adventures. Many thanks also to our other partners who made this day possible including the National Park Service, Outdoors Alliance for Kids, Boston Harbor Now, and the Massachusetts DCR. It was a terrific and memorable day!