Island Dispatch | April 2014

Photo by Kurt Thorson


2013 was a good year at the Preservation Trust. We added over 200 acres and a mile of shoreline to our network of protected properties on Orcas, Stuart, San Juan and Lummi Islands. Yet the numbers don’t really tell the story: dig deeper* and you will see critical habitat protected for fish and endangered plant species, old growth forests, rich agricultural lands, scenic coastlines and popular roadside views enjoyed every single day by islanders and visitors. In 2013 we took a big step towards ensuring a healthy future for our islands.

We are equally excited about two additional projects that wrapped up in 2013. While these will never appear on the map showing our own protected lands, we participated in a partnership that added 70 acres and a half mile of shoreline to the National Park Service’s British Camp on San Juan Island, and we provided logistical support for a grassroots effort to designate the San Juan Islands National Monument. Signed by President Obama, this designation permanently protects over 60 undeveloped islands, headlands and lighthouse properties throughout our archipelago.

As the pace of our land acquisition activities has accelerated, we are dedicating more and more of our organizational capacity to stewardship. Caring for the places we protect is a perpetual responsibility: a painstaking, resource-intensive and (literally) dirty enterprise. But our stewardship program also provides us with a tremendous opportunity to share with others the satisfaction of land conservation. Partnerships and volunteers are critical to these efforts, which include land restoration, monitoring of our preserves and conservation easements, and providing people with access to some of our favorite places. In 2013, we engaged both partners and volunteers to add several miles of trails on carefully selected preserves.

This month the San Juan Preservation Trust is celebrating its 35thanniversary. The organization’s effectiveness can be directly attributed to the support it has received from thousands of households, foundations and businesses; the shared vision and commitment of private property owners; and the many islanders – men, women and children – who have dedicated their time and their talents to our mission.

Working together, we’ve accomplished far more than our founders could have ever dreamed.


In 1979, as the population in the islands grew, a group of local citizens recognized a need to begin protecting island places before it was too late and incorporated the San Juan Preservation Trust, making it the very first land trust in Washington State. The Preservation Trust has since become one of the most prolific land trusts in the country, protecting more than 280 properties, 39 miles of shoreline, 17 miles of trails and 15,000 acres on 20 islands, including land now managed as public parks, nature preserves, wildlife habitat, and working farms and forests.


We’re celebrating 35 years of conservation and you’re invited! All are welcome to join us at the San Juan Preservation Trust’s Annual Meeting & Luncheon. Here’s your chance to mingle with other members, hear highlights from the past year and learn about both current and budding projects from staff and trustees.

As an added bonus, Yellow Island land steward Phil Green will present Food Webs of the Salish Sea, his observations and stories from 15 years of living in a small handcrafted beach cabin on an island preserve.

35th Annual Meeting & Luncheon

May 17, 2014
11:45 am – 1:45 pm
San Juan Island Yacht Club
273 Front Street
Friday Harbor

The San Juan Island Yacht Club is located just above the Port of Friday Harbor Marina, a five-minute walk from the San Juan Island ferry landing. We hope that, regardless of where you live, you’ll join us for this special event.


The San Juan Preservation Trust recently lost a hero whose influence on the future of our islands was profound. Bob Henigson possessed an incredibly sharp mind, and we often turned to him for counsel. His insights shaped a number of projects on Orcas Island, among them Library Park and protecting the open spaces of Crow Valley and Deer Harbor. The first approach we made for the Turtleback Mountain fundraising effort took place in Bob and Phyllis’s living room. Looking out his window across a pastoral 18 acres of open field and wetlands that he and Phyllis had permanently protected with a conservation easement, Bob admired our audacity and challenged (and greatly improved) our campaign strategy. He and Phyllis were among the first lead donors to the Turtleback campaign.

Bob Henigson was a champion of our islands. While his commitment to our work represents only one small chapter in a remarkable lifetime of achievement, his legacy will remain with us in perpetuity.