OFF THE RADAR
Little-Known Success Stories of Island Conservation
• Orcas Island
• Year protected: 2015
• Land protected: 18 acres
• Public access: No
• Public benefits: Old-growth remnants, rocky balds, wetlands
Upon her death in 2008, Natalie White bequeathed her 19-acre forested land above Orcas Island’s West Sound to a dear friend with the understanding that it would pass along to the San Juan Preservation Trust when her friend passed away or no longer wished to own the property. Last year, Natalie’s friend decided to transfer 18 of the 19 acres to the Preservation Trust (maintaining her interest in a one-acre house site). With this unheralded transaction, one of our newest preserves was brought under permanent protection.
Friends described Natalie White as a bon vivant who always spoke her mind. She was an extraordinary teacher and devoted lover of cats, guinea pigs, and raccoons. She delighted in her wooded “farm,” which she wanted to remain natural forever.
The White Preserve, like most of Orcas Island, is primarily regrowth forest, but it is home to a few old-growth cedar and Douglas-fir trees, plus a scattering of rocky balds (areas of bedrock with only thin soils) that host remnant native wildflowers and robust seaside junipers. The forest will be allowed to mature and evolve without disturbance. It is part of the Massacre Bay watershed and includes wetland areas that help sustain island ecosystems.
Among the conservation values of Natalie White’s land legacy is the simple fact that it is now permanently protected from the clearcutting and development that continue to eat away at the irreplaceably beautiful West Sound-to-Deer Harbor coastal corridor. We are proud we can offer peace of mind to conservation-minded landowners like Natalie White in knowing that their end-of-life wishes will be honored in perpetuity.
• Decatur Island
• Years protected: 1985, 1989
• Land protected: 56.4 acres
• Public access: Yes
• Public benefits: Shoreline, scenic views, Garry oak habitat
In a series of transactions completed in the 1980s, Dr. Walter Kimball— outdoorsman, conservationist, and longtime supporter of the Preservation Trust—donated 64 acres of landon the southern tip of Decatur Island, which lies between Lopez Island and Anacortes.
This magnificent property includes wildlife habitat, shoreline, native
forest, grassy headlands, and a pristine tombolo—a sandbar and small off-lying island that is connected to Decatur proper. A half-mile trail connects a pocket beach west of the tombolo to a privately owned isthmus at the Preserve’s northeastern boundary.
The Kimball Preserve offers spectacular views of pristine terrain to boaters passing through Lopez Sound and Lopez Pass.