Statewide, threats to historic resources include demolition, neglect, incompatible development and insensitive alterations. These challenges, along with many others, impact properties across Washington that significantly contribute to the heritage and vitality of our state while enhancing the quality of life in small towns, large cities and across rural areas. Inclusion in the Most Endangered List is an important initial step in advocacy campaigns intended to bring attention to significant historic resources.
Historic properties selected for the Most Endangered list receive support and technical assistance from the Washington Trust. While the focus is to remove the immediate threat a historic property is faced with, raising awareness of preservation issues in general remains a programmatic goal. Through proactive partnering with local organizations and concerned citizens, the Washington Trust’s Most Endangered List program has resulted in many high profile success stories across Washington since its establishment in 1992.
Numerous case studies demonstrate the effectiveness of inclusion in our Most Endangered List. An example from our 2011 List is the Green Mountain Fire Lookout located in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Restored by the US Forest Service in 2010, a Montana-based group sued the Forest Service last year, contending such work violated the Wilderness Act. In partnership with several local advocates, the Forest Fire Lookout Association, the Forest Service, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Washington Trust participated in the legal defense of the Forest Service’s actions, arguing that the Forest Service has an obligation to act as a good steward for historic resources under the agency’s jurisdiction. A positive ruling in the case could be precedent-setting, giving the Forest Service a clear mandate to apply preservation principles to hundreds of historic resources nationwide.
Communities are encouraged to take action when the historic fabric of their neighborhoods, main streets and rural landscapes are threatened. Through our Most Endangered List, the Washington Trust offers support with preservation efforts aimed at resolving these preservation challenges.
Nominations to the Trust’s 2012 Most Endangered Historic Properties List are due on Monday, January 16, 2012. The 2012 List will be announced at the RevitalizeWA conference to be held in Chelan, WA on May 22-24 as part of the Washington Trust’s Preservation Month programming. Those interested in nominating a resource are strongly encouraged to contact Chris Moore, Field Director with the Washington Trust, prior to submitting a nomination. For more information on the Most Endangered Historic Properties List, including a nomination form, please visit the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation website.