Conservation Easement: Freriks Property

We hope you will enjoy the story behind a 25-acre conservation easement near Albion. It is told by Shirley Freriks, who worked with the Mendocino Land Trust to ensure what she loves about this property would be preserved.

When I was a child on my grandparents’ farm in Ohio, my mother and grandfather were always “noses to the ground” with me, watching the behavior of an insect or a plant growing. In the midst of a busy life in Marin, I needed a place to get back in touch with those special moments on the farm and to find peace and quiet. I wanted to find my roots again.

I knew from the very first day I walked onto the land in Albion that it felt special. Part of that feeling was that it was off the grid, alive with silence, and just right to camp on. The forest, well on its way to recovery from past severe logging, was beautiful, and beckoned me. There was a creek with a “dragon” and a small pond with a little dock where I could lie down over the water and gaze up at the sky and trees. Paradise!

I bought that 20-acre parcel in 1990 and camped there for four years on my getaways, until I built a small wooden yurt so I could stay longer and warmer. I learned to recognize and feel every nook and cranny of the property.

When a neighbor on the adjoining property announced plans to clear-cut her forest right up to my yurt, I was horrified that my sense of peace and quiet here would be destroyed with the loss of continuous tree canopy. I offered to buy the property to save the trees, but my neighbor would not sell. She was determined to do a THP (Timber Harvest Plan). Sick at heart, I went abroad for three months. When I returned, fearing the worst, she had changed her mind and decided to sell. I bought the adjoining 20-acre parcel, including a farmhouse, in 1997, and promptly planted a Peace Pole and a wind harp to re-enchant the land. 

How can I say that I love this land more than anyone can imagine? It gives me solace every day to live here and enjoy all the energy of a wild place, the chorus of birds each morning and the different light that falls through the trees as the seasons change. I have no children of my own, but dream of finding a way to share this place with young people who might come here to appreciate putting their noses to the ground like I did as a child, listening to the forest, and learning to care for it deeply.

With a conservation easement (completed in 2007), Mendocino Land Trust helped me realize my goal of letting these precious acres continue to recover. They will never be logged again. The harmonies the wind harp plays in the breezes are a pleasant reminder that this land will be protected forever. That adds a lot to my enjoyment on every walk.

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