A master naturalist, botanist, horticulturist, and historian, Alex Getchell Alexander was the long-time owner of Getchell Ranch, which he has since passed down to his daughter, Maria Foster. Maria grew up in the neighboring town of Lake Stevens riding horses, hunting, preserving, and spending time outdoors. Maria is thrilled to be able to invest in the farm to ensure its future success thanks to the conservation easement. She plans to restore the old infrastructure so that she can farmstead on the property with her family.
Washington Farmland Trust has worked closely with Alex and Maria since 2016. Before Alex’s passing in March of 2020, he committed himself wholeheartedly to preserving the Getchell family farm’s heritage through the care and stewardship of what he referred to as an “environment-integrated sustainable family farm and ranch.” This project would not have been possible without funding from the Recreation & Conservation Office and the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program, as well as generous support from various individual philanthropists, corporations, and local foundations who helped close the gap needed to successfully fund the project.
Over the last century and a half, the ranch has been home to a diversity of farming operations including livestock, poultry, tree fruit, berries, corn, potatoes, pasture, and hay. A pear tree that Alex’s great grandmother planted in 1873 still remains on the property — and it bears fruit! Maria has visions of expanding the operation to include organic fruit, berries, meat, wool, hay, and market vegetables.