Clock is ticking on Whidbey Island's 'Trillium Woods'



Posted on June 5, 2010 at 5:24 PM

Updated Saturday, Jun 5 at 5:44 PM

FREELAND, Wash. - Dick Nord flips hot dogs with a smile on his face. He's confident that what he's doing will save a place he loves dearly.

"I think the wellbeing of all of us would be to keep this place safe," he said. 

For the last 30 years, Nord has volunteered at the M Bar C Ranch in Freeland, which sits to the south of the 664-acre Trillium Woods, a place many in this community treasure.

"There's not a lot of places where people can go out and horse back ride, walk and bird watch," said Pat Powell with the Whidbey Island Land Trust.

Powell says for years this community thought this rich forest land would become just another real estate development, until a few weeks ago.

"They ended up losing the land to the banks in foreclosure," said Powell.

So the Land Trust decided to buy it, but there is one problem. They had 90 days to come up with $4.2 million.

"My whole office and my board is convinced it will happen," she said. 

The community believes it too. Those like Dick Nord and groups like the 4-H Club. They alone have raised nearly $6,000, in 9 weeks.

"This place means a lot because this is one of the only places close by on the island where we keep our horses," said 4-H Club member Kaitlin Ellerby-Muse.

So far the community has raised $2 million. Dick Nord says it will happen because this community believes in miracles. "We're not just hopeful, we're confident," he said.

As part of the purchase the Land Trust hopes to expand on the ranch's efforts by offering children with special needs the chance to experience and explore nature. 

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