A Giant Step for Zylstra Lake


We learned last week that Zylstra Lake, another of our joint projects with the San Juan County Land Bank, was awarded a $1 million federal coastal wetlands grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). In the words of the USFWS news release, “the project will protect and reintegrate a network of lakes, wetlands and riparian areas with the ocean and protect associated water rights necessary for future stream restoration projects.”

Newsletter_Website_Jan_012916_Hero“This was a comprehensive application process, and it took a lot of talented people from a variety of disciplines to bring it all together,” says Debby Clausen, the Preservation Trust’s Conservation Director and the leader of this application effort. “In particular, the willingness of the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs to add their False Bay Preserve to our project was essential to the success of this grant.”

The Preservation Trust and the Land Bank would also like to thank Barbara Rosenkotter, Phil Shephard, and a broad island community of support, along with our partners at the Washington State Department of Ecology, the San Juan Islands Conservation District, the Washington Water Trust, the Trumpeter Swan Society, and the USFWS.

Artist's conception of a bird blind on Lake Zylstra

Artist’s conception of a bird blind on Lake Zylstra

This grant brings us a giant step closer to the $3 million total needed to acquire the Lake Zylstra property. Currently pending: a $1.1 million state grant. We won’t know about that one until the legislature approves the upcoming budget, likely sometime this spring.

Here is the full text of the USFWS news release.

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Mount Grant Preserved!


After two years of fundraising, the $4.2 million Campaign for Mount Grant Preserve has come to a successful completion. The 141-acre ridgeline, which includes open grassy knolls and stately old-growth Douglas firs, is now permanently protected.

The San Juan County Land Bank made an initial investment of $1.5 million in this project—one-half of the property’s purchase price of $3 million. The San Juan Preservation Trust raised the remaining $2.7 million, including a $1 million stewardship fund for the long-term care of the property, from private philanthropic sources. More than 850 families, residents of San Juan and surrounding islands as well as visitors, contributed more than 1,200 gifts to top out the campaign.

View from the summit of Mount Grant (photo by Alice Hurd)

View from the summit of Mount Grant (photo by Alice Hurd)

In addition to its rich endowment of native plant and animal habitat, the Mount Grant property will offer multiple recreational opportunities. From its summit, visitors can take in remarkable views in every direction. An existing road to the top was opened to vehicles on select “Sundays on the Summit” over the course of the campaign. Time and again, expressions of “Wow, I never knew this was here!” could be heard as visitors got out of their cars or completed the one-mile hike to the top to take in the 360-degree views.

A volunteer steering committee of 18 community members advocated and raised funds for the project. Hiking and equestrian groups, students, visual artists, musicians, and other volunteers contributed their labor, talents, advocacy, and countless hours to the campaign’s success. Stewardship funds will be used to build trails and other visitor amenities, maintain the summit road, control invasive plants, and implement restoration of compromised portions of the preserve. “Acquisition is only the beginning,” says Kathleen Foley, Stewardship Manager of the San Juan Preservation Trust. “Our job now, as stewards of the land, is to balance human enjoyment and safety with protection of the fragile aspects of a nature preserve.”

Now that the campaign is complete, the property will be owned and managed by the San Juan County Land Bank, and the Preservation Trust will hold a conservation easement on it. A management plan will be developed through a process that includes significant public input. “We will listen carefully and work hard to accommodate as many ideas and requests as possible,” says Doug McCutchen, Preserve Steward for the Land Bank. “Please stay tuned and participate in the public scoping meetings that will soon be announced.”

For more information on the progress of the management plan and public input, visit sjclandbank.org.

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A Tribute to Dale Hazen



Dale Hazen (1928-2016)

It is with both sadness and fond memories that we report the passing of Dale Hazen, who served on the San Juan Preservation Trust’s Board of Trustees for 15 years (1993-2008). Dale died in Anacortes on December 18th at age 88 following a valiant battle with both leukemia and Parkinson’s disease.

A native of Washington State, Dale and his wife, Ann, retired in Anacortes in 1990 after raising two children in Eastern Washington. Their shared love for the San Juan Islands can be traced back to family sailing trips they enjoyed on their boat Sunshine, then later as they cruised in their trawler Bravo. Soon after arriving in Anacortes, Dale jumped headlong into an ambitious effort to bring a diverse group of 22 neighbors together to create our Geary Preserve, a 1.2 mile stretch of natural shoreline along Burrows Bay on Fidalgo Island. This experience attracted Dale to the work of the Preservation Trust, where he presided on the Board of Trustees during a period of significant transition and growth.

In 2001, Dale agreed to serve as co-chair of our $1.1 million Sares Bluff capital campaign to acquire the largest remaining waterfront parcel on Fidalgo Island and then fold it into Skagit County’s adjacent Sharp Park. Dale employed the skills he had honed as a sales executive in the television industry to identify and cajole prospective donors to support this project.

Dale fundraising for the Sares Bluff project at the 2003 Anacortes Arts Festival

Dale fundraising for the Sares Bluff project at the 2003 Anacortes Arts Festival

His easygoing manner, fearless nature, and indefatigable sense of purpose ultimately overcame countless obstacles as we pushed the project to success in May 2003. Now named Montgomery-Duban Headlands Park, the trails and vistas throughout this beautiful place are open to the public and serve as permanent reminders of the many contributions Dale Hazen made during his remarkable tenure with this organization.

Dale was a friend and mentor to many of us associated with the San Juan Preservation Trust. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ann and her family as we celebrate the life of a man who has made such a significant and lasting difference in these islands.

Read Dale’s obituary in the Whidbey News-Times.


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Honoring Two Departed Friends

Hull Conservation Easement, Henry Island

As our maples and oaks slumber on windswept hillsides and our wild lilies lie quietly in the soil waiting for the promise of spring, this time of year is characterized by senescence. Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that people often slip away this time of year, as well. We’ve lost some good supporters of SJPT in the last month: Gretchen Hull (Henry Island) and Oakley Goodner (Lopez Island) in particular. In honor of these two remarkable women (and Conservation Easement donors) and their families, we’d like to share their stories with you:



Cheers, Oakley and Gretchen … and thank you.

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Invitation for Public Comment on Our Accreditation Renewal

We’re renewing our “seal of approval” as an Accredited Land Trust seal_green_Bulleted-Horizontal

Since its founding 38 years ago, the San Juan Preservation Trust has developed into one of the most accomplished land conservation organizations in the country.

We are one of a minority of U.S. land trusts that have been awarded accreditation by the independent Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Now, five years after first earning that distinction, it is time for us to apply for renewal.

As part of its extensive review of our policies and programs, the Accreditation Commission invites the public to submit signed written comments that relate to the Preservation Trust’s compliance with national quality standards. To see these standards, go to www.landtrustaccreditation.org/help-and-resources/indicator-practices.

The deadline for comments is November 11, 2016. To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org or send your comment to:

Land Trust Accreditation Commission
Attn: Public Comments
112 Spring Street, Suite 204
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Email: info@landtrustaccreditation.org
Fax: 518-587-3183

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Art Auction for Mount Grant Preserve a Success!

Mt. Grant /plein air painting

The Plein Air Art Auction benefitting the Campain for Mount Grant Preserve has ended, chalking up a big success! The winning bids totalled close to $4,000, so with matching funds, the auction raised nearly $8,000 for the Campaign.

Thanks so much to all the bidders who participated, and especially to the participating artists, who all donated their works to the cause.

We’re that much closer to our fundraising goal, but the Campaign isn’t over yet. Thanks to all those who have donated. To those who haven’t, please consider pitching in here to help us reach the top.


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