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Type of Project: Conservation Easement

This landscape of wild dunes fronts 0.75 mile of oceanfront west of Sunset Lake. NCLC helped broker its transfer of ownership from the late Portland businessman Norman Yeon to the National Park Service. It is part of a nearly 7-mile stretch of dunes south of the Columbia River now in public ownership.

Tucked between Clatsop Beach and Sunset Lake lies a unique coastal property that was for years owned by Portland businessman Norman Yeon. The property included more than 100 acres of wild dunes, three-quarters of a mile of oceanfront and a house thought to be designed by esteemed architect John Yeon, Norman’s brother.

Prior to his death, Norman arranged a conservation easement for the land and directed that, upon his death, its ownership be transferred to the Trust for Public Land. TPL then asked North Coast Land Conservancy for help managing the property.

When NCLC took over stewardship of the property, it quickly became clear to the staff that public ownership would be the best way to honor Yeon’s vision for his land. By October 2010, the transfer of the property, brokered by NCLC, to Lewis and Clark National Historical Park was finalized.

Now seven uninterrupted miles of dunes stretching halfway to Tillamook Head from the Columbia River’s south jetty are in public ownership.

“It’s almost a national seashore-caliber landscape there,” says NCLC founding executive director Neal Maine, characterizing the transfer as “a kind of modern-day miracle.” Keeping those dunes undeveloped helps support NCLC’s goal of preserving and enhancing a wildlife corridor adjacent to Neacoxie Creek.

It’s almost a national seashore-caliber landscape there.

Neal Maine, NCLC founding executive director