Special Gifts to the Campaign for Sunny M Ranch

While we are inspired by EVERY gift to the Campaign for Sunny M, we thought you’d enjoy hearing a few stories of meaningful gifts. Click HERE to see our full donor list.

Live your legacy, don’t leave it.

From the 1970s to the 1990s, Dr. Eliot Scull served as a rural ophthalmologist in the Winthrop, Twisp, Omak, and Brewster area. Although Eliot and his wife, Dr. Tina Scull, lived and were raising their children in Wenatchee, they fell in love with the Methow Valley and eventually bought a cabin near Barnsley Lake, on the edge of the Sunny M Ranch. From this cabin they launched many Methow Valley adventures, including skiing, snowshoeing, biking, and hiking. They got to know the Methow Valley in all seasons, finding a unique beauty in each.

In 2017, Eliot established the Tina Scull Opportunity Fund in his wife’s honor, which allowed the Methow Conservancy to purchase 139 acres on a hillside overlooking Winthrop and establish public walking trails that are now enjoyed by residents and visitors alike, at the Meadowlark Natural Area. “Tina and I have worked hard and been fortunate in our lives and careers,” Eliot says. “We wanted to share some of that good fortune with others, to help give them opportunities to get to know special pieces of land the way we have been able to.”

Now, the Tina Scull Opportunity Fund is helping to protect another special piece of land—one that is particularly near and dear to both Sculls’ hearts. “I can’t imagine a better use of our resources than helping the Methow Conservancy acquire the Sunny M Ranch on behalf of the community, Eliot says. “It’s such a special piece of land, with multiple uses, and with a longstanding tradition of being stewarded for community benefit by the Haub Family.”

Upon learning about the Sunny M Ranch opportunity in late 2022, the Sculls committed $1M from the Tina Scull Opportunity Fund toward the purchase of the 1200 acres of wildlife habitat, farmland, and recreational trails. This early gift launched the campaign and assured the Methow Conservancy that the Sunny M Ranch project would generate widespread enthusiasm amongst those who love the Methow Valley. The Scull contribution to the Campaign for Sunny M Ranch was more than a gift of capital—it was a gift of confidence that the campaign would be successful.

As lifelong outdoor enthusiasts, the Sculls say they experience immense joy in seeing the impact of their gifts of public access lands, which include the Meadowlark Natural Area in Winthrop, the Horse Lake Reserve in the Wenatchee Foothills, and the Henry Island Preserve in the San Juan Islands, among others. “Many people leave incredible legacies when they die, but they don’t get to see the fruits of their bequests,” Eliot says. “Tina and I have found such satisfaction in giving this money away and seeing land trusts use it for community benefit while we’re still alive. We get to live our legacy now, and know that it will continue after we’re gone.”

Press play below to listen to an interview with Eliot Scull about the Sunny M Ranch and living your legacy.

Eliot and Tina Scull 2017
Eliot & Tina Scull skiing in the Methow Valley, 2017.
4th grade example

Donor Facts & Figures

  • 1500+ donors and donor families
  • 32 states and provinces
  • 4 different countries
  • 50% are new donors to the Methow Conservancy
  • 40% of donors live in the Methow Valley; 60% live outside the valley
  • Donors ranged in age from 8 to 94 years old
  • 100% of donors care about what the land near the Town of Winthrop looks like and how it reflects what the community values

Click HERE to see who is on Team Sunny M!

Sowing seeds of conservation in memory of Donald Robert Linnertz

Sunny M supporter and capital campaign committee member Don Linnertz grew up on a farm in Minot, ND. With the help of Don’s father and uncle, Don’s grandfather farmed his entire life. Don’s parents also had 84 Holsteins that his mother milked twice a day on the family’s dairy farm. The dairy was sold when Don was 12 but the farming of Linnertz cropland continues to this day. Don says, “My Dad was so proud of his agricultural heritage and waited his whole life to own the land which was passed on to him by my grandfather when he died in 2015. Sadly, Dad only lived two years with his name on the deed before he died unexpectedly in 2017.”

Although Don’s career didn’t involve farming, he holds farming close in his heart. He leases the land he inherited from his father to a local farmer; he is also selling a portion of the farm to the young man. Don is directing some of the proceeds of the sale to the Campaign for Sunny M Ranch as a legacy gift in honor of his father: Donald Robert Linnertz.

Don says, “This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to honor my Dad and our family farming heritage while protecting agriculture, wildlife habitat, recreation and critical aspects of our Methow Valley economy like affordable housing.”

Don and dad
Don Jr. and Don Sr. on a hike in 2017.

Youth for Sunny M Ranch

"I was so excited to donate today because it is the 19th and the Methow has been my home for 19 years thus far. I could never imagine a better place to grow up, and a better community to grow up with. This campaign means so much for the wildlife, the town, and the community and it is so cool that you are making it happen!!" ~ Methow Valley 19-year-old

"I hope that you can buy the property and do what you have to do. Hopefully this five dollars can help you." ~ Methow Valley 4th grade student

Conservation connector

Nancy McKinney Milsteadt has been a strong voice for the importance of the Sunny M Ranch project throughout the campaign. Not only did she and her husband, Rich Milsteadt, make a significant gift to the campaign, but she connected us with several other key donors.

Prior to moving to the Methow Valley in 2014, Nancy was the Executive Director of the Ballard Food Bank. One of the food bank’s volunteers was also a major donor, and the two couples became friends and spent time skiing together in the Methow Valley. When that couple was in the valley over the past winter, they attended a presentation about the Sunny M Ranch and went skiing with Nancy and Rich on the Sunny M trails. The McKinney Milsteadts shared their thoughts on the significance of the property to the Methow Valley community, as well as what they knew about Helga and Erivan Haub and their commitment to preserving the valley’s wide open spaces. The following day, the friends dropped by the Methow Conservancy office to make a major gift to the campaign.

Nancy never met Mr. Haub because he passed away shortly before she began working as the CFO/Controller at Sun Mountain Lodge in 2018, but she and Mrs. Haub shared some meals over the years and enjoyed each other’s company. Nancy is pleased to be a part of carrying forward the Haub’s legacy. “I’m excited for those spaces to remain open for wildlife, recreation, and farming in perpetuity,” she says

Nancy is aware of what development might have happened on much of the Sunny M land, under different ownership than the Haub Family and has inspired gifts from other community members who share her vision for the future of the Sunny M Ranch. Nancy says, “It’s amazing what people will do when they care.”

Nancy and rich special gifts p4
Nancy McKinney Milsteadt and Rich Milsteadt enjoying winter.

Inspiring people to care for the land of the Methow Valley since 1996.

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