The McCloskey Easement: A little open space to play in

A place to play for future generations
October 2015

When Elinor McCloskey was a young girl, her parents bought property on Skyline Drive in Pullman.  They were the first to build their home in the neighborhood and the family watched as the neighborhood grew up one house at a time.  

There was a grassy field behind their house that Elinor played in as a child.  "I was hyperactive as a child, so my parents always tried to make sure there was green space near where we lived so that I'd have that area to run around and keep from driving my mother crazy," says Elinor. 

One day Elinor's mother looked out her kitchen window and saw surveyors standing in the field where Elinor played.  She knew it was only a matter of time before more homes went up in that field.  "So when my father got home that day, my mother sent him out there to 'deal with it.'  And they bought that land so that I'd still have a place to play."

Nearly 70 years later, Elinor now watches as neighborhood kids play in that field.  The field is bordered by Pullman's popular Sunnyside Park, and Elinor recalls fondly all the children over the years who have grown up in that field and used it as a way to get back and forth to the park.  She wanted to make sure that the field would always be protected as open space, habitat for small mammals and birds, and a place for children to romp around in the tall grass.

This fall, Elinor donated a conservation easement to the Palouse Land Trust that will ensure the land will remain in its natural state and provide important open space next to the park. 

The Palouse Land Trust worked closely with the City of Pullman Parks Department to make sure that the conservation easement fulfills Elinor's wishes for the property to remain in its natural state (i.e., no ball fields or highly manicured lawn) while ensuring that the terms of the easement would fit well with the park's management of the area.

"We are so pleased to be able to help Elinor honor her parents in this way," says Amy Trujillo, Executive Director of the Land Trust.  "She really appreciated her parents finding a way to give her that space and freedom as a child, and the conservation easement gives Elinor the peace of mind that the field will remain in its natural state for many more generations of kids to enjoy."