IMG_3585 (800x600) Fidalgo clear-cut

The owner of an Anacortes bed & breakfast establishment has agreed to pay a $100,000 settlement for illegally clear-cutting a waterfront nature preserve on Fidalgo Island. The nature preserve, which is owned by the San Juan Preservation Trust, is situated on a steep slope between the bed & breakfast and the shoreline. It is presumed that the owner of the bed & breakfast ordered the removal of all of the trees from a one-quarter acre area extending from the top of the bank down to the beach in order to enhance the views from his establishment. This action has damaged important shoreline wildlife habit and destabilized the steep bank by eliminating native vegetation and undermining its natural water drainage patterns.

The clear-cut property is part of the Preservation Trust’s 1.25-mile long “John H. Geary Shoreline Preserve,” a 38-acre collection of 22 contiguous parcels along the west side of Fidalgo Island that was permanently conserved in 1992 by a coalition of neighbors concerned about a proposed development along this steep hillside. The preserve follows Fidalgo’s western shoreline beginning north of Sunset Lane, around Edith Point, and then south toward Biz Point.

“No one likes to seek legal remedy, but this community worked very hard to protect this shoreline,” said Keith Gerrard, president of the San Juan Preservation Trust’s board of trustees. “We have a responsibility to defend all of our nature preserves in perpetuity, and we won’t shy away from that commitment.”

The Preservation Trust, which has agreed to drop a pending lawsuit, intends to use funds from the settlement to restore lost vegetation, re-stabilize the steep bank, educate upland neighbors about the nature preserve, and implement new strategies to avoid future violations.