Sally and Alexander “Sandy” Bill recognized the importance of land preservation in the San Juan Islands. As part of their family estate planning, the Bills wanted to protect their property on Lopez Island for its scenic and ecological values as well as limiting residential development. Having enjoyed the long stretch of waterfront and rocky balds on Hunter Bay and Lopez Sound for many decades, Sally and Sandy, along with their children Betsy, Molly, Susan, Peggy, Jamie and David, permanently protected the 70-acre parcel in 1988. Portions of the land will continue to be managed according to a forest management plan, and the remainder, with the exception of designated home sites, will remain undeveloped. The land continues to serve as a vibrant habitat for deer, otter, bald eagles, and contains an extensive network of mossy balds interspersed with native grasses and wildflowers.
An active leader of the Preservation Trust from its inception, Sandy often spoke of the “window of opportunity” for preserving beautiful island places and likened the archipelago to an “endangered species.” Sandy was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1980 to 1993, president from 1982 to 1985, and Land Counselor from 1993 to 1996. His involvement in the Preservation Trust continued until he passed away suddenly on January 4, 1996.
Sally was a vital member of the Lopez community until she passed away in 1999. Her love of Lopez Island and respect for the Preservation Trust was exemplified in her bequest of 3 acres at the heart of Lopez Village to the Lopez Community Center Association. With the help of community members, she crafted a plan to preserve open green space in the Village and showcase the island’s agricultural and gardening traditions. Sally arranged for a conservation easement on the open portion of the property to be donated to the San Juan Preservation Trust, ensuring that “Sally’s Garden” will remain open for perpetuity.