Judd Cove Conservation Easement

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Orcas Island
Year Protected: 2013
Land Protected: 12 acres
Shoreline Protected: 1,250 feet
Public Benefits:  Shoreline, wildlife habitat, scenic views

Old maps are fascinating storytellers, and the story that one vintage map tells about the Trust’s new easement along Orcas Island’s Judd Cove is that it has been a favored spot since earliest settlement times. The U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey of 1889 shows this property as one of the few areas outside of Eastsound with established residences, a large orchard and the nearby Gregg’s Limekiln. (The property with the kiln is now the San Juan County Land Bank’s Judd Cove Preserve.) Along the Horseshoe Highway, the main travel route to Eastsound, one can easily imagine a horseback rider, lingering at the clearing to absorb the views of Judd Cove and beyond, into the sound. Today we still enjoy that view — even if we only catch a glimpse of it as we quickly drive by to meet the ferry.

A few years back, when the property and some adjacent shoreline parcels changed ownership, the new property owners contacted the Trust with a desire to permanently protect the open fields and shoreline. The result, after some cordial negotiations, is an easement on 12 acres with 1,250 feet of waterfront. This transaction guarantees that the viewshed from Orcas Road to Judd Cove will remain forever open to future generations. Of course, it’s up to future residents and visitors to set their own pace — to rush by or to linger a while and enjoy the view.