Sound Off: Ebey’s Reserve remains in trusted hands


Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve was established by the U.S. Congress in 1978 to “preserve and protect a rural community which provides an unbroken historical record from nineteenth century exploration and settlement in Puget Sound to the present time.” This Reserve was the first of its kind, a partnership between the federal government, the State of Washington, the Town of Coupeville and Island County. In 1988, the four partners entered into an interlocal agreement to establish a Trust Board. With representation from all four governments, the Trust Board would be made up of local citizens who were given responsibility for the management of the Reserve.

This model still holds today. We are the partner representatives for the Reserve — NPS Deputy Regional Director Randolph Lavasseur, who represents the interests of the National Parks Service; WPS Northwest North Region Manager Heath Yeats, who represents Washington State Parks; Mayor Molly Hughes, who represents the Town of Coupeville; and District 1 County Commissioner Melanie Bacon, representing Island County.

Together, we want to assure the citizens and visitors of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve that their beloved Whidbey Island treasure remains in secure hands, and we have the utmost confidence in Ebey’s Trust Board, which is made up of highly respected citizens dedicated to their mission “to work through partnerships to preserve and protect Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve so it forever remains a living, rural community with an unbroken historical record.” In addition, we remain deeply grateful to the Friends of Ebey’s, the fundraising arm for Ebey’s Reserve, who work tirelessly to fund projects and programs that protect, preserve and enhance the cultural and natural resources for our residents and visitors to Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

Ebey’s Trust Board, which is responsible for the management of the Reserve, is made up of nine members. There are currently two open positions, which the county hopes to fill soon. Next week, during their regular monthly work session, the Trust Board will hold a special session to elect officers. They are looking forward to beginning their work on the 2025 budget next month. They continue to serve the community in the same trustworthy, dedicated manner that Trust Board members have exhibited for the last 40 years.

From NPS Deputy Regional Director Lavasseur: “The National Park Service remains committed to the collaborative partnership at Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve and confident in the ability of the Trust Board to carry out administrative management of the Reserve.”

From WPS Northwest North Region Manager Yeats: “Washington State Parks continues its commitment to seeing the Ebey’s Landing Historical Reserve be successful for many years to come. The community and the Trust Board members are key to that success. We support the Trust Board in the work they do.”

From Mayor Hughes: “The Town of Coupeville remains committed to the mission of Ebey’s Reserve: to preserve and protect the unique assets in the Reserve. I have faith that the intelligent and hard-working members of the Trust Board will continue this important work on behalf of our citizens and visitors.”

From Commissioner Bacon: “I have complete confidence in the integrity and commitment of the Trust Board Members and the Friends of Ebey’s. The citizens of Island County are well-served by the dedication of these outstanding public volunteers.”

We partners are excited about our plan to meet with the Trust Board and the Friends of Ebey’s later this month to talk about current initiatives and upcoming projects to enhance the rich legacy that is Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. We look forward to finding ways in which we can support them in this important work.