The Carder Farm – Protected Forever

May 24, 2023

In 1902, Joseph Carder bought forty acres outside of Coeur d’Alene, on Blackwell Hill, overlooking Cougar Bay. Joseph and his wife built a house, horse barn, and root cellar and raised a family. They called the farm Hardscrabble Hill because it took hard work to live on it. One of Joseph’s sons, Alvis, took to tending the land and built a small farmhouse where he raised three children, Algo, Gertrude, and Bob, with his wife Marguerite.  

Having married Gertrude Carder in 1974, Wes Hanson came to live on this land when Alvis was killed in a logging accident. Having spent vacations on the farm and now living here to be close to her mother Marguerite, Gertie and her three children developed a deep connection to the land. During the summers, on break from his job as a high school English teacher, Wes learned to love it too.  

Back then, Coeur d’Alene was just a sleepy logging town where Wes enjoyed going into town on Saturdays to visit the hardware store and lumberyard. In the early 80s, with development expanding from the city, the Carders decided to form a family S-Corporation. Doing this would facilitate transferring land ownership to new generations.  

“During this time, Gertie and I learned what we could about this land’s geology and wildlife. She became a dedicated bird watcher and in her small spiral notebooks collected information on the 125 species that either reside here or use it as a migratory stopping point. My interest centered on mammals and trees. She already had a storehouse of information from growing up here and taking frequent walks with Alvis as a little girl” 

Marguerite died in the 1990, leaving her shares to Gertie, Aljo, and Bob. Eventually, Gertie acquired two-thirds of them and began looking into conservation easements. 

“We visited a few places that had conservation easements and educated ourselves on their advantages and drawbacks. For us, this land’s preservation was an unwavering commitment, so we contacted the Inland Northwest Land Trust [now the Conservancy] and in 1997 began drafting our conservation easement.” 

Through this perpetual conservation easement, this land is preserved and is currently owned by family members. This land will be preserved as open space today and long after the Carder family no longer own it. 

Since 1997, Wes has been a champion of local land protection, both in his service on the Planning Commission, and in inviting people to see what a conservation easement meant to the Carder Farm and the family. Wes has spurred numerous other families to protect their land too, like the Mott family and Andrews family and others.