Katy Nesbitt
The La Grande Observer

JOSEPH — More than 50 acres of Wallowa Lake’s East Moraine was protected from development this spring, leaving more open space for wildlife and threatened plants.

Kathleen Ackley, Wallowa Land Trust executive director, said the Ham Family LLC donated a conservation easement to the Trust, extinguishing development and subdivision rights on the majority of the 70-acre property.

Dr. Bruce Ham grew up on the edge of Enterprise, Ackley said, and recently he and his wife, Mary Lou, built a home on the moraine.

“Bruce, Mary Lou and their children are passionate about conservation and especially wanted to protect mule deer habitat,” Ackley said.

Conservation easements eliminates specific rights negotiated between the Trust and the landowner, she explained. The land remains in private ownership and is not removed from the county’s tax rolls.

“It is our wish that this land remains open and undeveloped forever. It is also our hope that the mule deer of the Wallowa Mountains will retain a small but vital winter range for their long-term survival and benefit,” Bruce Ham said.

Separate from conservation, the Trust is working with the Ham family and other landowners on the East Moraine to develop legal, public access to what Ackley called a heavily used “social” trail.

See full story in Friday's Observer