Land trust's 2nd plaque goes up at courthouse

North Olympic Land Trust's second plaque at the Clallam County Courthouse is in place.

The plaque lists names of individuals and groups wanting to show support for the land trust's work in protecting special qualities of area lands or to honor others while contributing funds for the land trust's efforts.

The plaque tradition began in 2007 when the land trust gave its "Elwha Return" artwork to the citizens of Clallam County, and county officials arranged for its display in the courthouse's entry area facing Fourth Street, in Port Angeles. Plaques with donor listings are on the wall of the corridor west of the artwork. A plaque describing "Elwha Return" hangs below the artwork, just east of the elevator.

Three local artists, Clark Mundy, Darrell Charles Jr. and Al Charles Jr., donated "Elwha Return" to the land trust to help the organization raise funds for its work and to celebrate partnerships between individuals and groups, including local governments and tribes, nonprofit organizations such as the land trust and businesses, in helping protect the area's special qualities.

Mundy, who initiated the "Elwha Return project," is noted for creating hammered copper fish and other art, with an emphasis on natural and cultural qualities of the area. Darrell Charles Jr. and Al Charles Jr. have collaborated with Mundy on projects including the Erickson Playfield totem pole in Port Angeles. The Charleses are members of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

"Elwha Return" incorporates Coast Salish design, abalone inlay, carved western red cedar and hammered copper. It depicts a female salmon depositing her eggs while two males hover nearby, waiting to fertilize them.

Each $100 contribution to the land trust qualifies its donors for one line on the plaque. Donations to the nonprofit organization are tax deductible. This year's listings include names of 37 individuals and organizations showing support and 29 names of those being honored or memorialized.

Although many of those memorialized died in recent years, one listing honors Helen Isbell MacNamarra, described as "Pioneer Child of the Upper Elwha Valley," who lived from 1895-1990.

Mundy described the land trust's work as a "beacon" of the kind of collaboration they believe will be needed to protect the qualities that make the North Olympic Peninsula a special place.

"We are all partners in the future of this great place and that's what "Elwha Return" represents - working together for the future," he said when preparing for the dedication of the artwork and the first plaque.

Types of land the nonprofit organization protects include habitat for salmon and other wildlife, farmland, sustainable commercial timberland, clean water and air, scenic vistas, open space and cultural heritage.

Donations can be made through the organization's Web site or the land trust's office, 104 N. Laurel St., Suite 114, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

The local land trust has protected more than 1,500 acres in Clallam County, mostly through individualized legal agreements with property owners who continue to own and use the land until they sell it or bequeath it to heirs. The land trust takes responsibility for upholding the agreements in perpetuity.

More information about the organization's services is available from 417-1815.

Robbie Mantooth is the communication specialist for North Olympic Land Trust.

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