When she died in January 2012, Jane Willits left a legacy that will forever protect wildlife habitat and agricultural lands on the peninsula.
On Monday, Nov. 5, “Jane’s Farm” — located near the intersection of Kitchen-Dick Road and Old Olympic Highway — was permanently protected through a conservation easement with North Olympic Land Trust.
The easement will ensure its 50 acres forever remain agricultural land and prime waterfowl habitat.
Willits also left NOLT a gift of $270,000 to help the organization continue its efforts to conserve the lands that sustain the communities of the North Olympic Peninsula.
NOLT Executive Director Tom Sanford said, “Jane and her family have a long history of being committed to habitat conservation around the country and particularly in the Northwest.”
He noted that Jane’s brother, regional conservation leader John Willits, has been especially active in the movement.
Jane Willett was in the process of purchasing what is now known as “Jane’s Farm” when she died.
Sanford said after her death the family used a portion of Jane’s trust to purchase the land, then placed the conservation easement on it. “It was named in her honor,” Sanford said.
Sanford said the cash bequest also is very useful, noting that his organization is required to ensure the conservation easements “are around forever.”
“We’ll invest those funds to keep the organization stable,” he said.
Jane’s Farm is located near Agnew, across from the Sequim Valley Airport. “It’s a beautiful, wide-open space,” Sanford said.
The farm is currently in use as wildlife habitat for migratory birds, with some grain crops being grown there.
North Olympic Land Trust is a nonprofit Clallam County land conservancy. Since its inception in 1990, the organization has conserved 2,700 acres of economically and ecologically vital land across the North Olympic Peninsula.