A galaxy of shooting stars blossomed on the Cady Mountain Preserve Addition this spring | Staff archive

In the heart of San Juan Island, the Cady Mountain Preserve Addition provides an important refuge for wildlife—an island within an island. As part of one of the largest contiguous conservation areas in the San Juan Islands, the 142-acre preserve addition expands upon multiple square miles of uninterrupted territory, where deep-forest species can thrive.

The Conservation Land Bank’s purchase of this property in 2021 expanded its existing Cady Mountain Preserve, connecting it with the Roche Harbor Highlands (see map). The Preservation Trust provided essential funding assistance and an additional layer of permanent protection by purchasing a conservation easement from the Land Bank in 2023.

With its wildflower meadows, rocky balds, stream corridors, Douglas fir savannas, ponds, wetlands, and diverse ecological communities, it is one of the best examples of non-coastal habitat on San Juan Island—or, indeed, throughout the archipelago.

A variety of wildflowers adorn the property, including the uncommon satinflower, calypso orchids, delightfully dense patches of prairie star, and nearly as many shooting stars as there are in the galaxy. Healthy Western red cedars are finding climate refuge here, and Western hemlock are present in the lower forest zone.  

A path traversing the property connects with the Roche Harbor Highlands’ extensive trail system. It is along this path that you can find a single, stunning Pacific Yew tree—estimated to be 250 years old—welcoming you to this hidden world. 

Click on the photos in the gallery below to enlarge. (All photos: Staff archive)