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Engle property deal finalized
"Another piece of the puzzle for Ebeys Landing National Historical Reserve officially fell into place this week when the Trust for Public Land and the National Park Service finalized the purchase of 400 acres.The $2.9 million deal will ensure that the property, which the Engle family farmed for 150 years, will remain farmland forever. The property is one of two remaining Central Whidbey dairy farms. The other, Sherman Farms, became part of the preserve about 15 years ago. Ebeys Landing National Historical Reserve is a 17,000 acre territory on Central Whidbey that features some of the Puget Sound regions most scenic vistas. The Historical Reserve now owns or controls development rights on about 9 percent of the reserve.The money for the most recent deal, which was first announced in October, came from an appropriation by the 1998 U.S. Congress. Properties to be protected include: The Hill Road property, which offers a view toward Port Townsend and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Its located along Engle Road on the way to the Keystone ferry. About 115 acres of prairie land above Crockett Lake on Fort Casey Road. Acreage on either side of Highway 20 at the north entry to Coupeville.The Engle dairy itself is also part of the deal. The Engles will continue to live on Central Whidbey. The family has retained ownership of 110 acres, but has sold the development rights to the Park Service.Reserve manager Rob Harbour said there would be little scenic farmland left on Whidbey Island if it werent for families like the Engles.Without their decades of stewardship, we would have lost the opportunity to preserve this important part of Pacific Northwest history, he said. "