Fee title acquisition by donation: Butte Creek

As a child, Sue Gabriel vacationed at Neskowin every summer with her family. “Someday,” she recalls announcing at age 5, “I’m going to live here.” It took her 55 years, but she did it. In 2011, Sue bought a quarter-section of land next to her home on Butte Creek with a single purpose: to leave it alone and let it be, forever, while it recovers from logging and other human impacts. She day she signed the deed, Sue recalls, she left the title company and went straight to the land. “I found a log near the creek, and I talked to all the critters. I told them that they will have a place to live, for as long as they live.”

Five years later Sue donated those 32 acres and another 3.9-acre parcel she owned nearby to North Coast Land Conservancy, along with enough financial support to ensure perpetual stewardship of the land. It was her way of making good on her promise to the inhabitants of the land she loves.

Sue is a close observer of the plants and animals that move through the land, from the native Pacific lamprey and coho salmon in the creek to the bobcats and beavers. “I love land,” she says. “I’ve always loved land. And I’m curious.” Sue now serves as a volunteer site steward for what NCLC calls Butte Creek Habitat Reserve.

“This property has always been loved,” Sue says. “It was loved when it was a dairy farm. It was loved when it was vacant land with a cabin on it. And it was loved when I had it. And the elk really love it!”