Beaverton marsh campaign at SJ County Fair

Beaverton campaign launch at our county fair booth in August | Staff photo

We have good news to share. Thanks to the 166 households that donated to the Campaign for Beaverton Valley Preserve, we’re on track to to hit our $1.2 million campaign goal—and then some—assuming all pledges are fulfilled. Every dollar we receive beyond the campaign goal is going into a stewardship fund for the expanded Beaverton preserve.

Last year, the Preservation Trust and the San Juan County Land Bank pooled their creative and financial resources to conserve a 325-acre parcel in the heart of Beaverton Valley on San Juan Island. The newly acquired property lies between, and connects, two existing Beaverton Marsh preserves, one owned by the Land Bank, the other by the Preservation Trust.

The newly acquired property had long been a high priority for protection for both the Preservation Trust and the Land Bank. The opportunity to purchase it arose when a San Juan Island family saw the large “For Sale” sign by Beaverton Valley Road and stepped up with a lead gift of $750,000.

The two organizations quickly engaged in the project. The Land Bank committed $1 million towards the $2.6 million acquisition cost. The Preservation Trust’s role has been to raise $1.2 million from private philanthropic sources to ensure permanent protection of the property by purchasing a conservation easement from the Land Bank, creating a dual layer of permanent protection.

We will wait until later this year, when purchase of the easement is complete and more pledges are fulfilled, to declare complete victory. We must also meet the requirements of the $500,000 challenge grant, which we are on course to do. For now, though, we feel confident enough to say the fundraising campaign has succeeded.

The Land Bank will own and manage the Beaverton preserve. Our shared long-term vision for the property includes some degree of habitat restoration for waterfowl and other species, as well as creation of a trail system for public enjoyment of this highly visible natural area on the outskirts of Friday Harbor.