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Welcome, Waterwood!

watewood old spruce webNorth Coast Land Conservancy is pleased to announce the recent completion of a new conservation easement on 160 acres of second-growth forest, year-round creeks and dynamic forest ecosystem high above the Little Nestucca River near Neskowin.

Waterwood, as the land is known to its owners Stephen and Lizzy Murdoch, was purchased in the late 1970s and has been home to multiple generations of the Murdoch family ever since.  They built a unique, off-the-grid house on the property, and have been committed to caring for their beautiful forested home during their thirty-plus years as stewards of the land.

Around the turn of the millennium, Stephen and Lizzy began thinking about what would become of their land long after they were gone.

waterwood old tree web“The thought of the property not remaining as it is: we couldn’t bear that,” Stephen said. They began looking into options available to them to ensure that Waterwood could continue to grow and evolve both as a home for their family and the dynamic forest ecosystem they love. North Coast Land Conservancy was able to work with the Murdock family to craft a conservation easement agreement that gave Stephen and Lizzy the assurance that even after they are gone, the forested beauty of Waterwood will live on for generations to come.

Located in the Nestucca River valley, and adjoining the almost 700 acres of Siuslaw National Forest, Waterwood is primarily a second-growth forest dominated by Sitka spruce trees, with healthy populations of western hemlock and red alder. Scattered groupings of majestic, old-growth Sitka spruce trees are found here as well. Three major perennial streams run through the property, one of which hosts a run of winter steelhead.  Wildlife is abundant at Waterwood, and the forest has clearly benefitted from the Murdoch’s thoughtful land management practices.

Old-growth trees have become vibrant nurse logs to a new generation of forest.

Old-growth trees have become vibrant nurse logs to a new generation of forest.

“This has honestly been one of our favorite projects in recent years,” says NCLC Executive Director Katie Voelke. “The Murdoch family has been wonderful to work with, and are clear proof to me that even during our short stay on this earth, we can each truly make a difference to the land.”

“We all feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction knowing that the forest will be protected long after we are no longer here to watch over it,” Stephen Murdock wrote to NCLC upon completion of the easement. “I knew I would be pleased when the easement was completed, but did not think I would actually have a sense of relief.”

NCLC is honored to be chosen by the Murdoch family to hold the conservation easement on their land, and we share the Murdoch family’s joy in knowing that their land is now protected forever.

waterwood forest 3 webPlease join NCLC board of directors, staff and volunteers as we welcome Waterwood to the NCLC family!

You can visit Waterwood’s information page on our website here: Waterwood Easement.

Find out more about the many different ways that North Coast Land Conservancy works to protect land on the Oregon coast, including conservation easements: NCLC Conservation strategies


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