Mount Grant Campaign Autumn Update


As we observe the 10th anniversary of the acquisition of Turtleback Mountain on Orcas Island, we reflect on this major community success and the strong determination it took to preserve a very special island place. Similarly, we are now approaching two years since the start of our work to permanently protect Mount Grant—and now, 1,090 gifts from 800 donor families later, we have succeeded—almost. We still have $320,000 left to raise to satisfy a $500,000 challenge and meet the $4.2 million campaign goal.

Since we launched the Campaign for Mount Grant Preserve:

  • Thousands of people have walked, driven, bicycled, or ridden horseback to its summit. It has become a must-see destination for both island residents and visitors, particularly those who are unable to hike to such special places.
  • Dignitaries including Sally Jewell (U.S. Secretary of the Interior) and Governor Jay Inslee have seen for themselves the conservation opportunity that Mount Grant presents.
  • Miss Norma, a 91-year old Facebook sensation who inspired thousands as she chose to spend her final months on the road rather than undergo chemotherapy, made a trip to the top of Mount Grant, much to the delight of the on-duty volunteer docents.
  • Local artists set up their easels and painted from different vantage points on and around Mount Grant, and then they donated their resulting work for the benefit of the campaign.
  • Several scientific research projects have been conducted on Mount Grant’s resident plant and animal species.
  • Youth Conservation Corps workers have toiled on Mount Grant’s flanks to control invasive weed species.
  • High school students designed and helped to install trails and visitor amenities on the Mount Grant summit.
  • And just in, homegrown musical duo Dave McGraw and Mandy Fer used a music video shot on Mount Grant to put in a fundraising plug for us. Thank you, Dave and Mandy!

 If you haven’t yet contributed to the campaign, please consider making a gift towards protecting this awesome place forever. (Can’t remember if you’ve contributed? Take a peek here to see the donor list as of October 20).


Mount Grant Preserve has become a cherished gift to the local community and to our island region. If you’ve contributed to the campaign, thank you! Please consider doing a little more to boost us to the top. Here’s how you can help:

1. Encourage Others to Visit
Encourage your friends and neighbors to visit Mount Grant. The Preserve is open daily for walking, biking, and horses, and on select dates, the road to the summit will be open to cars:

  • November 24 and 26 – Thanksgiving Day and the Saturday following
  • December 25
  • January 1
  • January 15
  • February 19
  • April 16
  • May 14
  • May 28
  • June 18

2. Shop
Buy a copy or two or ten of The Book of Birds. At $15, it is the perfect holiday gift. The charming (and field-worthy) illustrated bird guide was created by students from the Spring Street International School and printed with a generous grant from the San Juan Island Community Foundation. All sales proceeds of the book will benefit The Campaign for Mount Grant Preserve. Books may be purchased at several Friday Harbor locations: ACE Hardware FH Labs, Barking Bird, and the Preservation Trust offices. Call 378-2461 for more information.

Bewick's wren (Thryomanes bewickii), from The Book of Birds by students of the Spring Street International School. All proceeds from sales will benefit the Campaign for Mount Grant Preserve!


Bewick’s wren (Thryomanes bewickii), from The Book of Birds by students of the Spring Street International School.

All proceeds from sales will benefit the Campaign for Mount Grant Preserve!

3. Spread the Word
If you don’t see the name of your brother-in-law, your next-door neighbor, your Pilates students, your boss, or your ____________ [fill in the blank] on the Campaign donor list, forward this email to them and consider dropping a subtle hint, like: I know you’re wracking your brain trying to figure out what to give me this holiday season. What I’d really like is a gift to the Campaign for Mount Grant Preserve!

We look forward to seeing you on the Mount Grant summit soon. In the meantime, Thank YOU for being a part of the community that has contributed to the Mount Grant (almost) success!

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On San Juan Island, Sundays at the Summit on Mount Grant have been very popular. Many islanders and visitors are taking advantage of the opportunity to drive to the top. This past Sunday, a group of children from Island Community Church were escorted up to take a look around. Eileen Drath, our volunteer “docent” on duty when they arrived, reported: “One little girl came up to the table with her counselor to hold out a one dollar bill. She wanted to give it to me for Mount Grant. I was touched.”

And the clock keeps ticking on our $500,000 challenge grant for the Mount Grant campaign, with a deadline of September 1. At this writing, we’re about $25,000 away from our goal! Well, $24,999, because of Sunday’s little visitor!

If you’d like to help us meet our September 1 deadline, here are a few simple ways you can do so:

1. If you’ve not already done so, make a gift!

2. Share the link to this campaign video with your network:

3. Join our TEAM MOUNT GRANT crowdfunding campaign. It’s easy and takes only a few minutes to set up, and then you are helping to secure Mount Grant Preserve for all!



Questions? Please contact Barbara Courtney, Director of Philanthropy, at 360/376-2431 or