The acquisition of Vendovi Island in December 2010 is arguably the most significant conservation effort undertaken in the history of the Preservation Trust. In the Fall of 2010, Vendovi was put up for sale at auction. At stake was a 217-acre, virtually untouched island with nearly three miles of shoreline, abundant wildflower fields and lush fern forests. The Preservation Trust acted swiftly and, with the financial backing of one visionary individual, we were successful in the auction and subsequent negotiations.
Since it was opened to public access in the fall of 2006, the Turtleback Mountain Preserve has become integral to community life on Orcas Island, providing islanders and visitors with popular hiking trails that wind through diverse forests, rich meadows and scenic viewpoints.
Nearby is another property that was acquired several years ago by the San Juan Preservation Trust: the 30-acre “head” in the turtle’s profile known locally as both “Orcas Knob” and “Turtlehead.” SJPT’s Turtlehead Preserve hosts some of the most spectacular grassland and wildflower habitat in all of San Juan County, along with stunning 360-degree panoramic views of the San Juan and Gulf Islands that even exceed the exquisite views from the Turtleback Mountain Preserve. Yet very few people have ever had the opportunity to experience its extraordinary beauty because there is no public access to Turtlehead.
The San Juan Preservation Trust has just acquired a 111-acre property that sits between Turtlehead and Turtleback Mountain Preserve.