Years protected: 2000, 2007
Land protected: 43 acres
Shoreline protected: 2,200 feet
Public benefits: Shoreline, grassland, forest, scenic views, public access
Thanks to generous donations from the Guemes Island community and a major gift from Patsy Collins (a well-known conservation philanthropist), this 21-acre property was purchased in 2000 by the San Juan Preservation Trust. With 43 acres, 2,200 feet of sandy shoreline and proximity to the Guemes ferry dock, this preserve is very popular among Guemes natives and visitors. The site of an active shipbuilding enterprise during World War I, the Peach Preserve is now home to wrens and warblers, clams and kingfishers as well as healthy shoreline, coastal wetland and forest plant communities.
In 2007, the Preservation Trust put the finishing touch on this acquisition by purchasing the last undivided interest in the property and integrating it into the preserve. The Preservation Trust has bestowed the name “Peach Preserve” on this property in honor of Patsy Collins, the preserve’s benefactor (“Peach” was her childhood name), but many locals still refer to it as “Demopoulos Marsh” in reference to the previous landowners.
A multi-year effort to eradicate invasive Scotch (Scot’s) broom (Cystius scoparius) on this property is yielding some encouraging results. When the San Juan Preservation Trust acquired these 64 acres of marine shoreline and freshwater marsh along Guemes Island’s southern shoreline in 2000 and 2007, we inherited several acres of Scotch broom that was clogging the beach above the high tide line. This invasion was threatening delicate wetlands and native wildflowers that had thrived in this sensitive zone. Yearly visits to the preserve with many hardworking volunteers have cleared the broom out almost in its entirety. Scotch broom is a tenacious foe in the San Juan Islands, so the Preservation Trust will continue to monitor and remove broom seedlings as they germinate to prevent them from establishing a stronghold again.