San Juan Preservation Trust Programs
Conservation of Land
The Preservation Trust works with local island communities to identify and purchase priority conservation properties, and to facilitate donations of land and conservation easements from private landowners in the San Juan Islands.
Once island land is permanently protected, the Preservation Trust then becomes a land steward in perpetuity. Effective stewardship activities include restoration of land, which mostly involves removing invasive plant species that have encroached upon native grasslands and forests, and occasionally reintroducing endangered species. We work to provide public access to protected land, when possible, adding visitor amenities such as trails and signage. Each year, Preservation Trust staff visit over 250 privately-owned properties to ensure that terms of conservation easements are in force. Special projects include the Western Bluebird Reintroduction project, where the Preservation Trust has engaged private landowners and local schools to reintroduce this extirpated species to the San Juan Islands.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
The Preservation Trust has successfully completed a number of high-profile, multi-million dollar acquisition projects that have included Turtleback Mountain Preserve (Orcas Island), Watmough Bight (Lopez Island) and Guemes Mountain (Guemes Island). Currently, the Campaign to Save Vendovi Island is in full swing. Vendovi Island, located between Lummi and Guemes Islands, is essentially untouched by human development. This 217-acre island has 2.8 miles of pristine shoreline, six beaches, lush forests, and diverse plant and animal habitat. Its wildflower meadows are among the richest in the San Juan Islands, and ornithologists have documented 83 avian species.
The San Juan Preservation Trust acquired Vendovi Island in December 2010 for $6.4 million. The generosity of an anonymous benefactor made this acquisition possible, providing a $3 million outright gift and a $3.4 million bridge loan. The Preservation Trust’s stewardship objectives are to protect the island and its unique conservation values in perpetuity, and to make the island available for education, scientific research and low-impact public access. In order to do so, the Preservation Trust must raise $2.8 million to retire the bridge loan that was needed to acquire this gem of the San Juan archipelago.
General operating support for our core programs are needed, as are funds to support land acquisition projects, our stewardship fund (dedicated to restoring damaged or neglected lands) and the permanent Endowment Fund.