Nestled in the hills of Tillamook County near Hebo, Marilyn Burkhart’s 160 acres serve as an artist’s muse and a haven for wildlife. Deer, elk and the occasional bear inhabit the forest, and summering songbirds flit across the large meadow. Great blue herons fish along Cedar Creek, which runs through the property and creates a riparian corridor for a variety of species. Surrounding the property on three sides is Siuslaw National Forest land. Marilyn, a professional artist, has built a studio on her property, which she sees as a “refuge from the world.”
Back in 2001 the property’s original owner, Barbara Nachmann, began working with Burkhart, her administrator and caregiver, to preserve the property. “One thing we had in common,” Burkhart says of her late friend, “is we loved nature and wanted to see this property preserved.” Cedar Creek is now protected by a conservation easement: a legal document permanently attached to a property’s deed that restricts the use of the property according to the wishes of the landowner. North Coast Land Conservancy agreed to hold the conservation easement on the property because of its significant ecological value.