What is a Spirit Easement?
At the grand opening ceremony for HomeStream Park in the fall of 2019, Mark Miller, a descendent of the Methow Tribe, shared his strong belief that his ancestor's spirits were welcomed and at home at the beautiful riverfront park in Winthrop. As Phil and Cathy Davis continued to care for the park later that fall, an idea came to them. Why not find a way to permanently acknowledge HomeStream Park as a home for the ancestral spirits of the Methow Tribe? This spark resulted in the creation of what the Davises call a “Spirit Easement.”
Phil and Cathy recorded a “Spirit Easement” on Homestream Park with the County. Like any legal easement, it runs permanently with the land. It is a way for any current landowner in the Methow Valley to acknowledge that their property is open and welcoming to all spirits of deceased Methow People and that as current landowners, with a good heart, you welcome those spirits to access, inhabit, or use in any other way this property as part of their Spirit Homeland.
How to Place a Spirit Easement on Your Property in the Methow Valley:
We believe the Davis's Spirit Easement on HomeStream Park was the first such easement of its kind in Washington State. Phil and Cathy, however, welcome others to use their template to create a Spirit Easement of their own.
With gratitude to Phil and Cathy for launching the idea and to Travis Thornton for his expertise in legal drafting, we are pleased to share a sample template for creating a Spirit Easement on your private property in the Methow Valley.
As with any legal transaction, we encourage you to seek your own legal counsel to review this document and provide guidance. The Methow Conservancy is not responsible for any legal advice or obligations as a result of sharing this template.
The template is marked with areas that will require you to input your specific information. You will need to:
- Complete the template (or adapt as you or your legal counsel advise) and have your signatures notarized by an official public notary.
- Take the signed and notarized documents to the Okanogan County offices for Recording.
- There will be a recording fee (approximately $100).
Once recorded, the Spirit Easement will “run with” your property permanently. This means that when you go to sell your land, the buyers will see the easement and (ultimately will need to follow its tenets) when they pull title on the land. This will be true forever.
While the Spirit Easement is largely a symbolic gesture, we do know that members of the Methow Tribe find it meaningful. We thank you for keeping a “good heart” and openly acknowledging that the land you own was taken from the Methow Tribe.