Year protected: 1996
Land protected: 34 acres
Shoreline protected: 1,565 feet
Public benefits: Shoreline, agricultural lands, rocky balds, forest
Waldron Island’s spectacular Point Hammond, along with 34 acres of adjoining shoreline, rock outcroppings, and woodlands, were protected in 1996 by Suzanne and Brooks Ragen with a voluntary conservation easement that will prohibit any development on the property other than primitive walking trails. This point of land, an iconic island landmark, provides habitat for numerous plant, animal, and marine species, including some the archipelago’s most charismatic wildlife (seals, sea lions, river otters, peregrine falcons and nesting bald eagles).
“When we acquired the land on Waldron, it was clear to us that this property should be preserved in its present state forever,” said Brooks Ragen at the time of his gift. “It has been completely undeveloped, and we and our children want it to stay this way.”
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Brooks served on the board of the Washington chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Both he and his wife “have been deeply interested in environmental matters for a long time.” The land under easement, which comprises the forested part of the old (and still productive) Mittelstadt farm, helps maintain the rural character of Waldron. Point Hammond and the wooded shoreline can be seen from the waters of President Channel and Boundary Pass.
“We feel good about donating the easement,” says Brooks. “We’re very pleased and would encourage others to think hard about preserving their land in the San Juan Islands.”
Demonstrating the Ragen family’s remarkable commitment to protecting island land, they followed up their Hammond Point gift by donating another conservation easement on their 199-acre Pile Point property along the rugged southwestern coast of San Juan Island.