Paradise on the Edge of Town
David Atkin grew up living right next to the Illinois River. Every summer, he would eagerly await the returning salmon and rejoice at the sighting of the first one each year.
David traces his love of his land back to those moments as a young boy. He purchased the property from his parents 35 years ago, along with 26 acres of adjacent farmland, and created Riverside Farm. Even today, his voice grows animated describing this special place.
“From the first day I bought the property,” he says, “I considered myself a steward of the land and wanted to find a way to conserve it forever.”
Five years ago David, his friend Barry Snitkin (who lived on Riverside Farm), and a group of friends purchased a number of contiguous parcels in the area. They formed a unique neighborhood group to protect the land in its natural state. High on their priority list was permanent protection of the ecological integrity of the land, its natural appearance, and retaining the beautiful landscape along the Illinois River.
Barry, who served on the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy Board for many years, worked with David and their neighbors Shahoma McAlister and Prasad Boudreaux on this visionary project. The One River Neighborhood, which operates like a homeowner’s association, placed covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) on the property. However, they knew that CC&Rs are difficult to enforce over time.
Wanting to ensure the permanent protection of their land, they placed conservation easements on all the property in March. With the help of the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy, David’s dream of preserving his family’s farm was finally achieved.
It’s easy to see why David and his friends would want to conserve this land. For one, the farmland is rich, fertile land which is in short supply in the Illinois River basin. Today, alpacas graze the fields alongside planted rows of grapes and produce. A mile of the beautiful Illinois River bounds one side of this spectacular property, which also contains a small forest. Perhaps most importantly, this land will leave a valuable piece of open space close to both Cave Junction and this world-class river.
The Southern Oregon Land Conservancy was honored to accept the donation of the conservation easements on these beautiful lands. As Barry says, “This land is just so remarkable – with an incredible river flowing by and right on the edge of town – who wouldn’t want to protect it for the future?”
Reprinted with permission from Southern Oregon Land Conservancy's Spring 2009 Terra Firma Times
Photo courtesy of Southern Oregon Land Conservancy