An Unbroken Historical Record: Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve
Administrative History
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Chapter Nine:

The act establishing Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve emphasized that the reserve was created to "preserve and protect a rural community which provides an unbroken historical record" of exploration and settlement in the Puget Sound. This language raises interesting questions. Implicit in the legislation was the understanding that the EBLA partners would support efforts to retain the present balance of urban development and open space or farmland. Yet the act specifies that the reserve represents a continuum of human use and activity. Does this continuum extend into the future? Does the wording of the act pit the historical and the natural against the future development of the community? The future challenge may be to define the realm to be protected, to decide whether to draw a line at some historical moment after which the NPS has no interest in preserving developments on lands not already protected with easements. An additional consideration is that, while protection of natural and cultural resources seems on the surface to be a straightforward goal, in a farming community these categories often overlap and sometimes compete. The traditional National Park Service unit is maintained either in its historical condition (for example, a battlefield or a historic home), or in a natural condition (as close as possible to how it might have appeared prior to human intervention, although this is difficult to determine). As a cultural landscape, EBLA is both of these and more. What seems evident is that the idea of managing the area as a historical continuum may raise debate, yet permit flexibility in management decisions.

On the approximately ninety percent of Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve that is privately owned, natural resource protection falls primarily to local agencies. Most of the publicly owned land belongs to Island County or the state. However, the NPS and the EBLA trust board do advise on natural and historical landscape issues. The EBLA trust board works with town and county historic advisory committees, established when central Whidbey Island became a historic district in 1972, to protect historic structures. It also monitors scenic easements to protect NPS development rights. The National Park Service provides technical and monetary assistance on a variety of historical and natural resource issues. This chapter will discuss historic, archeological, and natural resource protection in Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve, as well as the guardianship of scenic easements purchased by the National Park Service.

NPS Cultural Resource Inventories

Soon after the formation of the Central Whidbey Island Historic District, it became clear that the National Register listing could be made into a stronger tool for local preservation. Jimmie Jean Cook's National Register nomination for the large historic district frequently described individual structures only minimally, and many were not tied directly to the major themes of the central Whidbey area in a manner that would clearly define their position as a contributing element of the historic district. [1] The nomination was also limited in that it only identified historic structures from the nineteenth century. The nomination defined the district as a collection of nineteenth- century structures representing a variety of styles and the early development of central Whidbey Island. When the state historic preservation officer rejected an application for a historic twentieth-century bungalow that was undergoing rehabilitation to take advantage of preservation tax incentives, the community and the NPS quickly realized that they had a problem. A gap existed between the historic district nomination and the enabling legislation of the reserve. The legislation recognized the historical record of the area "to the present time." Since the National Register required most historic structures to be at least fifty years old, a number of buildings not identified in the 1973 nomination could be added to the list. T. Allan Comp, the NPS regional chief of cultural resources at the time, recognized that the Service needed to find out what significant cultural resources existed in the reserve and update the historic district nomination. [2]

In 1983, Comp sent a team, supervised by NPS historian Gretchen Luxenberg, to inventory all buildings constructed in the reserve before World War II. The team inventoried sites, such as farm complexes, as well as individual buildings. Using a new inventory system developed by team member Cathy Gilbert, a landscape architect, they also documented the cultural landscape. The first such NPS inventory of its kind in the region, it involved segmenting the reserve into ten distinct character areas according to natural patterns, such as ridges and woodlands, and cultural patterns, such as roads and political boundaries. The result was a three-volume set of inventory cards. From this baseline documentation, Gilbert and Luxenberg compiled The Land, The People, The Place: An Introduction to the Inventory in 1984. Written for the general public, this study provided a summary of the reserve's important natural and cultural resources. [3]

Favorable response to the publication from the local citizenry led to another publication in 1985, Design Considerations for Historic Properties, by architect Beth McGreevy and historical architect Hank Florence. Written as a tool for preserving cultural resources, the newspaper-style publication was designed as a guide for reserve property owners. It was intended to increase community awareness of the variety of structures that contribute to the cultural landscape. The newspaper stressed that simple, vernacular structures were as important to the landscape as ornate homes. [4]

Finally, a third publication, Reading the Cultural Landscape, by Cathy Gilbert, identified in more detail the cultural resources of the reserve. Gilbert wrote it specifically for the use of the trust board, and it suggested guidelines and principles for conservation of significant cultural landscape elements, buildings as well as hedgerows.

The landscape inventory provided a comprehensive data base from which change within the reserve could be measured and evaluated. Of the 338 buildings surveyed, 175 were recommended as contributing to the reserve's history when evaluated against National Register criteria. [5]

Cultural Resource Protection

A major concern of the trust board has been the integrity of cultural resources within the reserve. After the creation of the Central Whidbey Island Historic District in the 1970s, both Island County and the town of Coupeville established design review committees (commonly known as HACs, or historic advisory committees) to monitor proposed changes to historic properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The authority of these committees was limited to reviewing building permits for historic structures and making recommendations to their respective planning departments.

As an instrument of county policy, the historic district already had procedures for review of historic features in place when Congress established the reserve. This meant that there would be no major upheaval when EBLA formed. A close working relationship between the trust board and the HACs was crucial to effective protection of cultural assets. [6]

Initially, the flow of information between the Central Whidbey HAC and the trust board was weak. The problem seemed to stem not from lack of interest or commitment from the HAC, but from poor communication between the HAC and county planners. Some planners occasionally bypassed or overruled both the HAC and the trust board in issuing building permits. To both committees, it appeared that the county did not take them seriously. [7] In June 1989, the Central Whidbey HAC disbanded in protest over what it characterized as lack of commitment from Island County planners. Charline Scoby, a fifteen-year member of the HAC, as well as a trust board member, explained the HAC's frustration. "We were all willing to... serve but there was so much turnover in (county) planning that we were getting no support." [8]

Once the county HAC disbanded, building permits ceased to be reviewed by preservationists. However, Scoby grew concerned for the integrity of the historic district. [9] When Bob Whitlow, owner of the Crockett Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast, decided to modify his historic farmhouse, a public hearing helped stimulate interest in historic preservation. This, repeated contacts from the EBLA trust board, and a sympathetic group of county officials, encouraged the county to revive the HAC. [10]

In August 1990, the Central Whidbey HAC was reborn under a new ordinance that gave it new clout and direction. The new ordinance gave the committee broad powers to request detailed construction plans and related materials necessary for thorough review of proposals. It allowed county land use decisions to be based on historical and scenic values. The ordinance created two seats on the HAC for members of the EBLA trust board, which were promptly filled by Charline Scoby and Pat Howell, assuring that the interests of the reserve would be represented. In 1990, the trust board assisted both the town and county HACs in revising their design review guidelines to assure a professional and effective performance for the [11] Furthermore, the trust board established a system of notification with Coupeville and Island County so that it can review local permits regularly and keep a log of permits issued. The trust board does not duplicate the work of the existing town and county HACs, but provides technical assistance and political support as needed. [12]

Archaeological Sites

In addition to historical structures, the reserve contains 33 identified archaeological sites, the majority of which are along the shores of Penn Cove. Island County and the Washington State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation keep the location of such sites confidential in order to prevent disturbance, and they monitor construction in areas likely to contain archeological resources. Under its obligation to provide technical assistance to the reserve, the National Park Service has contracted for archaeological reports on sites within the reserve, but these have been limited in scope. [13]

Archaeological Sites

In addition to historical structures, the reserve contains 33 identified archaeological sites, the majority of which are along the shores of Penn Cove. Island County and the Washington State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation keep the location of such sites confidential in order to prevent disturbance, and they monitor construction in areas likely to contain archeological resources. Under its obligation to provide technical assistance to the reserve, the National Park Service has contracted for archaeological reports on sites within the reserve, but these have been limited in scope. [13]

Natural Resources

The National Park Service has not played a major role in managing natural resources within the reserve. Two reasons explain this. On the one hand, the reserve lacks a detailed resource management plan (RMP), which it needs in order to request funds to undertake specific projects related to natural resource management, but until recently, an up-to-date RMP has not been a priority for the region. On the other hand, most of the land within the reserve is either privately owned or managed by state or local governments, mitigating the urgency of preparing an RMP. Although many concerns regarding natural resources have arisen, the National Park Service has acted in an advisory capacity because of its limited power and jurisdiction over the lands. However, the NPS and the trust board would like to play a greater role in managing the natural resources of the reserve.

In 1982, National Park Service Management Assistant Willie Russell of the region's Resource Management and Visitor Protection Division prepared an RMP for the reserve. Only scant information on natural and cultural resources was available; the end result was an RMP that primarily recommended that the NPS conduct more comprehensive research on all of EBLA's resources. [14]

Ten years later, after four attempts to assign the task of completing the RMP, Leigh Smith, a natural resource specialist from North Cascades National Park, was chosen to complete the RMP (by 1994). The EBLA trust board will then be on a more equal basis with other parks when requesting NPS assistance for resource management projects. The RMP will identify issues relevant to EBLA despite the NPS's lack of control over the lands within the reserve. Many of the proposed projects will require coordination between the reserve partners. The more the trust board learns about the reserve's natural and cultural resources, the better equipped it is to inform and educate local landowners and land management agencies about resource management issues which affect the entire community and the integrity of the reserve. [15]

Communication and cooperation have provided solutions to a number of issues regarding natural resource management and protection in EBLA. For example, assistant Island County road engineer Lew Legat, sensitive to natural and aesthetic values within the reserve, agreed to trim hedgerows and underbrush sparingly and cautiously in order to protect the cultural landscape within EBLA. Another agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, recently proposed to create a "Northern Puget Sound Marine Sanctuary." It would include the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Admiralty Inlet, Saratoga Passage, and Penn Cove. The wildlife sanctuary designation may mean more protection of wildlife through federal regulation. Island County Commissioner Caldwell has raised doubts about adding another layer of federal bureaucracy, but the idea has many advocates in the county. [16]

Resource issues that have required more extensive action on the part of the trust board or the National Park Service are discussed below. [17]

Rare or Threatened Plants

According to Gloria Wahlin, coordinator of the Island County Noxious Weed Control Board, there are many rare or threatened plants within Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve. Several species grow on Grasser's Hill, including rare native irises, and the trust board and the county are working with local landowners, who sometimes mow down the irises in their attempts to control thistles, to prevent the loss of these plants.

In addition, a patch of what is commonly called the Golden Indian Paintbrush or Golden Paintbrush can be found in Fort Casey. Once a wide-ranging plant on the Pacific coast, only nine known populations of Golden Paintbrush remained in the world when EBLA was established in 1978. Ironically, the environmental disturbance caused when Fort Casey was built may account for the plant's presence. NPS Naturalist Ed Schreiner has speculated that the site was once forested, a condition unfavorable to Golden Paintbrush. Once the forests were cut, the disturbed soil may have provided the herb with a place to flourish. In order for the plant to continue to survive today, it may be necessary to prevent the return of the site's natural forested state. The National Park Service has already taken steps to protect the species. In 1981, the EBLA interpretive prospectus recommended that the Admiralty Inlet wayside be installed in a spot that happened to be in the vicinity of the Golden Paintbrush population. In 1983, after the Service learned of the plant's presence, it cancelled plans for the installation of the wayside at the site. [18]

Other resource issues on which the NPS has offered recommendations have involved years of discussion. Crockett Lake and pipelines were topics of debate for more than a decade.

Crockett Lake

For over a century, local residents have managed Crockett Lake, primarily for flood control and to reclaim marshlands. Over time, the lake went from predominantly salt marsh to nearly fresh water, and finally to brackish, due to attempts by local farmers and landowners to reduce its size. By the time the reserve was established, human manipulation had caused Crockett Lake to swell and shrink for years.

Gradually, popular concern grew about ecology and the preservation of wetlands around Crockett Lake. These wetlands were biologically rich and teeming with waterfowl, especially during the spring and fall migratory season. The Seattle Audubon Society, Save Whidbey Island For Tomorrow (SWIFT), and other conservation organizations wanted sufficient water levels to be maintained to protect bird habitat. In addition, administrators at Seattle Pacific University's Camp Casey Campus preferred that the lake remain at high levels to accommodate its environmental and canoe classes. On the other side of the growing controversy stood private property owner Bud Wagner and other landowners in the area. For more than two decades Wagner, chairman of Drainage District 6, owned part of the lake bed. [19] In the 1980s, he and nearby landowners tried to prevent flooding of the septic drainfields in the adjacent Telaker Shores subdivision, part of which Wagner had once owned. They hoped to keep the lake shallow enough to avoid water on the highway and to drain the marsh near Telaker Shores. [20]

In the early 1980s, the water level began to sink after Drainage District 6 repaired some long-defunct tide gates. By the summer of 1984 the lake was only one-quarter of its former size. The SPU dock was high and dry, and Crockett Lake had begun to resemble a mud patch. SPU sued the drainage district, and the NPS was called upon to offer its opinion. [21] NPS Project Manager Dick Hoffman, who had a master's degree in marine environmental studies, felt that NPS should let the state handle the issue. However, the National Park Service did state its position. The Service recognized that the lake had not been in a natural state within living memory, but it acknowledged that Crockett Lake had considerable natural, scenic, historic, and recreational value. NPS Regional Director Odegaard stated that the primary value of Crockett Lake was as a major link in the migration of shore birds. A brackish water/salt marsh environment, he said, must be maintained in order to provide a food source for birds during the spring/fall migratory seasons. Recommending further study to determine proper water levels, Odegaard suggested that extreme fluctuations in levels be reduced. The county currently attempts to maintain the lake as a wetland, with water levels of no more than three feet. [22]


Another long-term resource issue in which the National Park Service and Island County have had an interest involves proposals for pipelines to refineries to the north.

The Northern Tier Pipeline Company received presidential approval in January 1980 to construct and operate a crude oil transportation system across the Puget Sound.A portion of the route would come ashore on Whidbey Island just north of Point Partridge. Approximately one-half mile of the ninety-foot corridor would cut through Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve. Island County and the National Park Service opposed the pipeline because of possible damage to the fragile bluffs along the coast, and because of its potential to disrupt the landscape in general. (They also noted that an oil spill would devastate the environment.) [23]

The Northern Tier project died, in part because Governor John Spellman refused to allow its terminal to be sited at Port Angeles. However, three similar proposals for west-to-east pipelines surfaced in the early 1980s, the Trans Mountain (which proposed to cross Whidbey Island), Kitimat, and Northwest/Skagway pipelines. None of the projects went forward, although in 1991 Trans Mountain Oil Pipe Line Corporation revived its plans to build a pipeline. [24]

The Kettleholes

The EBLA trust board took an interest in all of these matters. One additional natural resource controversy, the Barstow pit (as the issue was locally called), embroiled the trust board in prolonged public debates about kettlehole terrain.

In 1979, Island County began acquiring what eventually amounted to 160 acres of kettlehole terrain in the old Barstow Donation Land Claim, southeast of Lake Pondilla (the lake itself is a kettlehole). The Island County Engineering Department planned to dig a landfill in the area, build a road shop, and hold the land as a future source of gravel. Both the Island County planning department and the trust board opposed the project in 1986. The board cited as justification the project's probable visibility and the geological uniqueness of the kettleholes. When the county officials promised to create a visual buffer, the trust board relented. But, as planning progressed over the next three years, some trust board members withdrew their support. It appeared that the project would gradually level a ridge visible from Highway 20. In support of the trust board, Island County commissioner Dick Caldwell, in whose district the reserve lay, argued in April 1988 that the county-owned land would be better used as a "passive recreation" area with hiking trails among the glacial kettles. Eventually the county canceled the landfill and the road shop. However, it could still apply for a surface mining permit for the gravel. [25]

The appropriate water level for Crockett Lake and kettlehole protection reflect the sort of natural resource issues that have typically concerned the NPS and the trust board. Inherent in such debates has been the classic challenge to balance protection of natural values while accommodating ever-changing human use and demands on the land. In the reserve, where a living and working community resides, this has been especially important. The challenge has also been apparent in the subject of camping. This has been a small but not insignificant issue.


As previously stated, most of the land within EBLA is private. The trust board is conscious that the degree to which visitors respect private property helps determine the level of local support for the reserve. But the trust board and National Park Service have an obligation to see that visitors are not unreasonably inconvenienced or denied appropriate services. The board, therefore, must both encourage and accommodate visitors and discourage activities that violate the trust of local citizens.

As the population of the Puget Sound area rises, tourism to the reserve increases. State campgrounds in Forts Ebey and Casey, Rhododendron State Park, and on the northern and southern ends of the island are frequently filled to capacity. However, Island County zoning and its limited water supply place a cap on the number of overnight visitors permissible in Island County. With increased visitation but no increase in the number of campsites, some illegal camping does occur within the reserve. On recent occasions, state parks employees have had to remove as many as fifty people a night from Keystone Spit. Some landowners within the reserve have found people camping on their property or sleeping in vehicles along the roadways. Violations have not generally been numerous, but the trust board partners are currently discussing the value of a visitor management plan, and ways of mitigating the illegal camping issue. [26]

The area in which the trust board has the most direct impact on resource protection is through scenic easement administration.

Scenic Easement Administration

Scenic easement management has been the activity that has most frequently brought the trust board in contact with individual landowners. The trust board considers this its most important role, and has worked tirelessly to establish and maintain lines of communication with residents and land use managers. The chapter on administration discusses the evolution of the trust board's policy on easement administration. The discussion below describes the easements with which the trust board has been most actively involved, and highlights the issues that have surfaced in recent years.

Grasser's Hill

Trust board members cut their teeth on scenic easement management at Grasser's Hill. In negotiating an easement with Penn Cove Associates in 1985, NPS land acquisition specialist Harlan Hobbs, with Rob Harbour's assistance, divided Grasser's Hill into a series of zones in which development would be restricted. He designed these zones to prevent visibility of structures from Viewpoint X (discussed in Chapter Six). This would keep the broad expanse of Grasser's Hill open and visually undisturbed. Once Penn Cove Associates sold its lots to individuals, however, many of them required clarification of the complex easement language. Appropriate siting of the proposed building, as well as its color, materials and landscaping, are affected by the scenic easements for these parcels. The potential for misunderstanding seemed great. But friendly contact, which has been one of the great strengths of the trust board, has helped ensure mutual cooperation and avoid easement violations. Pat Howell, who lives near Grasser's Hill, takes daily walks there. She has not only gained a detailed knowledge of the terrain, but forged personal ties with several landowners. Board members have also found that, as local citizens became aware of the reserve mission, they began to notify the board of potentially worrisome developments within the reserve. [27]

Ebey's Prairie

The greatest concern regarding development remains Ebey's Prairie. After the sale of their farm, the Smith family developed a variety of proposals for other lands that they still owned on or west of Ebey's Prairie. Marion Smith submitted the first proposal for development, on a parcel that she still held on the ridge. It was a highly visible spot, but the Park Service had been able only to acquire half of the parcel when it purchased the farm. In May 1981, Bud Wagner, representing Marion Smith, submitted a long plat for condominiums on the site. However, according to Island County law, selling half of the parcel in essence subdivided the land. Legally, therefore, a plat was not possible for another division for five years. The National Park Service protested the long plan, and Wagner withdrew the plan. After the mandatory five-year wait, he resubmitted a short plat for four lots, which the NPS again was able to reduce to two. [28]

In 1989, Roberta Smith Haeger and Dave Wagner, Bud Wagner's son, submitted a short plat for the parcel once again. This site was adjacent to the historic Jacob Ebey home and blockhouse. Haeger acquired what proved to be erroneous approval from the Island County Planning Department for her plat. The county's mistake was in overlooking its obligation to consider the impact a development project might have on the reserve. (It should be noted that the National Park Service owned no restrictions on Mrs. Haeger's land.) Staff turnover in the planning department was blamed for the mistake; the county platting technician apparently did not realize that the land lay within the historical reserve, or that the Interlocal Agreement among the reserve partners required that the county notify the NPS of such sensitive developments. The county withdrew its approval of the plat and agreed with the EBLA trust board that Haeger and Wagner must prepare an environmental impact statement for the project. This was the first time that an environmental impact statement was required in Island County solely on the basis of historical and scenic impact. The Island County commissioners subsequently notified the trust board that, unless there was a statutory authorization restricting property owners in how to use their property, the Board had limited ability to impose significant restrictions. However, Mrs. Haeger has not pursued development. [29]

Although the trust board was overruled in this instance, the premature approval of the Haeger plat illustrated the need for proactive communication between the trust board and local planners. Roberta Smith Haeger's case tested the limits of the trust board's authority to affect developments on lands in the reserve on which the NPS holds no easements. However, another situation arose around the same time which indicated that an easement was no guarantee of scenic preservation. This involved a scenic easement held by a local trust. Although not an NPS easement, the case sent a clear warning signal to the trust board.

Albert Heath Property Easements

As described in the acquisitions chapter, Albert Heath placed restrictions on some of his parcels along the bluffs north of Ebey's Landing prior to their sale in the 1980s. He donated these easements to the Whidbey-Camano Land Trust. One such easement, on property purchased by George Lotzenhiser, stipulated that Lotzenhiser must build his house within certain boundaries on his property. This building "envelope" would prevent the house from being visible to hikers on the Bluff Trail. However, Lotzenhiser cleared land outside of the envelope to install a drain field and house. In 1992, the case went to court, with the Whidbey-Camano Land Trust asking that the drainfield be removed. The trust lost on a technicality: the building site had not been properly surveyed or flagged to show the allowable building zone. Requiring Lotzenhiser to remove the drain field was a greater financial harm to him, Judge Alan Hancock ruled, than the harm done to the public by violation of the easement.

The case was the first legal test of a scenic easement in central Whidbey Island. The ruling cautioned the Whidbey-Camano Island Land Trust and the EBLA trust board that they must take care to inform property owners of the terms and requirements of their easements. Like the misunderstanding regarding the Haeger plat, it reinforced the trust board's determination to monitor easements and communicate with landowners and local agencies. [30]

Scenic Easement Monitoring Issues Today

In a lengthy monograph on America's national parks prepared for the Conservation Foundation in 1985, Ronald A. Foresta commented that maintaining scenic easements requires constant policing, and can be a source of irritation to local landowners. Resentment can arise out of the fact that development rights or scenic easements are intangible: it can sometimes be difficult to establish exactly what has been sold. [31] Some of this is borne out by experience in Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve. Veteran NPS lands specialists will argue that the more time passes beyond an initial easement acquisition, the harder it is to sustain a high level of commitment to the terms of the easement. Easements tend to be purchased because a watchful and concerned person or group wished to prevent the development of a piece of land. [32] Subsequent land managers may not feel the same attachment to this piece of ground, nor understand and interpret the easement in the same way. The more complex and legalistic the language, the more difficult enforcement becomes for lay people responsible for managing the easements. And if the land is re-sold, it is likely that the new owners will be unaware of easements on their lands, even though the NPS has recorded such easements onto deeds, or less willing to abide by the original terms of the easement. Easements are also buried within the arcane and complicated language of a title insurance policy, and may be just one of several easements, such as telephone, cable, and power line restrictions. Few owners read such detailed clauses carefully, realty specialists say, and the real estate agent may neglect to point specifically to a scenic easement.

In addition, personalized relations between trust board members and local landowners can be both an asset and a drawback. Many land or historic home owners prefer to retain their property unchanged and undeveloped, but destruction of natural and cultural resources does occur anyway. For trust board members, it is sometimes hard to maintain emotional distance, especially in a small community. As EBLA coordinator Rob Harbour has pointed out, it is difficult to tell people that they cannot build as they wish, and then run into them at the post office.

National Park Service traditionalists who are skeptical of scenic easements argue further that easements can buy the NPS into a contract dispute. An easement is a contract which must be defended through contract law, and judges tend to favor landowners in such disputes. The courts will often give the benefit of the doubt to new owners if conditions have been imposed from a previous owner, as was the case with the Whidbey-Camano Land Trust lawsuit involving the Lotzenhiser easement. The least complicated easement may be the type of purchase and exchange accomplished in the Smith Farm negotiation. By acquiring the Smith Farm in fee simple, the National Park Service did not have to negotiate for scenic restrictions, but could place them in the deed structure itself before re-selling the land.

As a result of the Lotzenhiser ruling, trust board coordinator Rob Harbour, who also sits on the board of directors for the Whidbey-Camano Land Trust, recommended to the EBLA trust board that an attorney draw up a set of letters to issue to landowners in order to prevent similar mistakes in the future. Harbour stays informed about local land use planning issues and notifies the trust board of important developments. He monitors permits and development plans for properties encumbered by NPS easements, and offers design assistance to landowners to ensure that the terms of easements are met. As funding and time permits, Harbour continues to prepare an easement administration plan for the trust board. [33]

In addition, Island County has agreed to notify the EBLA trust board by sending a postcard to the board when it receives applications for permits on key lands within the reserve. A zoning or platting request triggers an immediate notice. The county still experiences rapid turnover of planning department employees, however, endangering the institutional memory of past practices. The Whidbey News-Times recently editorialized about the erroneous Haeger/ Wagner plat. "As each veteran planner left," it charged, "with them went the memory and the verbal agreements and understandings. In bringing new employees up to speed, the planning department apparently has chosen to make the reserve a low priority." [34] Nonetheless, the trust board is confident that the reserve is taking its rightful place in the consciousness of the local community and its planners.

The legislative language of Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve commemorates not just one historical period or architectural style, but rather an open-ended range along the historical continuum. It attempts to preserve both the landscape and the agricultural economy of central Whidbey Island, goals which may occasionally become contradictory. Some concerns have been raised that maintaining a viable agricultural economy may require housing for agricultural laborers on Ebey's Prairie, for example. Would such structures then become a part of the "unbroken record" of agricultural life that the NPS and the trust board are bound to protect? The reserve trust board has grown accustomed to ambiguity, and there may be no easy solutions to such questions. In this non-traditional NPS unit, natural and cultural resources are not always distinct categories. EBLA encompasses--and, in effect, philosophically supports--a community and a working landscape. Change can and must occur, but the trust board strives to manage change, by protecting and maintaining old patterns and valued resources while providing for the new. The challenge in resource management remains to balance human activities and a viable community with long-term resource preservation and protection.

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Last Updated: 27-May-2000