Lee First is co-founder and Waterkeeper of Twin Harbors Waterkeeper. Please describe your relationship to…
Seattle, WA — Harriet Bullitt—granddaughter of C.D. Stimson, owner of Seattle’s largest sawmill and a real estate tycoon whose Metropolitan Building Corp. helped reshape the city after the great fire of 1889—was a renowned philanthropist, conservationist, and savvy businesswoman. She was particularly well known for her strong commitment to protecting the PNW’s old-growth forests and rivers, and championing green urban growth by allocating tens of millions of dollars to environmental causes through the Bullitt Foundation.
In 1991 Harriet purchased 67 acres of land along Icicle Creek near Leavenworth, formerly a Civilian Conservation Corps camp that abutted her existing property, to build the Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort. Historical and environmental considerations saved all 18 of the original buildings for the new site plan. In 1994, the buildings were remodeled to meet or exceed current building and energy codes, and new buildings were constructed to blend in with the original style. Sleeping Lady welcomed its first guests in August 1995, and in 2001, the American Institute of Architects recognized the resort as one of the top 10 green projects in the nation.
In 1998, Harriet then established the Icicle Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to support six partner organizations focused on advancing the arts, protecting the environment, and promoting the natural and cultural history of the Wenatchee River watershed. The six lead partner organizations—Icicle Creek Center for the Arts, Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, Methow Arts Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, the Trust for Public Land, and the Wenatchee River Institute—hold the majority of seats on the Board of Directors and lead the work of the Fund. Since its founding, the Icicle Fund has expanded to support projects throughout North Central Washington, investing tens of millions in over 100 nonprofit organizations.
In 2011 we honored Harriet with our Water Hero Award in recognition of her unique vision and efforts to restore Icicle Creek, including the removal of dams leading to the return of native salmon. We were saddened to hear of her passing in April and are hoping her family has been able to find comfort in the happy memories of Harriett during this difficult time. We here at CELP will always remember Harriett as a trailblazer as well as a generous and fierce advocate for Washington’s wild places.