Tom Cowan, former San Juan County Commissioner, Lopez Island: “The genesis of the Land Bank was broad community recognition that we were losing vital open spaces to development at an alarming rate. Leaders from all walks of life—real estate, farming, business, conservation, etc., came together 30 years ago to design the Land Bank. I was proud to be part of that effort.
“The Land Bank is just as necessary today as it was then. There is still so much more conservation of open spaces, natural areas, farmland, access to beaches and wetlands, vistas and trails that is necessary. I think we all recognize that what makes our islands special is the natural beauty and environment, and we need to preserve as much nature as possible.”