Island Dispatch | October 2014

Photo by Will Fisher


Being in nature is good for us physically, emotionally, spiritually. Even a brief stroll through a forest can be calming, energizing, restorative. Children who play in natural settings gain not only the health benefits of physical activity, but they also explore and discover the plant and animal world around them.

There is much evidence that simply viewing natural places is healthy – patients recover faster and need less pain medication when they can view a natural setting from their hospital room window. Office workers fortunate enough to have a natural outdoor view experience less stress and greater job satisfaction than their windowless office mates. Students experience stronger cognitive ability when they have a view of the natural outdoors. While driving in natural settings, we are much more relaxed than we are in urban areas, even outside of rush hour.

We have an inherent connection to the natural world around us. It is, well, natural. And when that connection is strengthened, we live happier, healthier, more prosperous lives.

Our connection to nature, to the land we inhabit, is fundamental to our well-being. The San Juan Preservation Trust plays an important role in helping connect people to special island places, not only by protecting special areas in their natural state, but also by making these places accessible to us all.

Each year, we offer a varied menu of opportunities for our members and their families to be in the natural world that we work to protect. You can join a guided forest walk, paddling and biking excursion, mushroom hunt, or berry-picking or nature scavenger hunt. You can visit properties not otherwise accessible, properties that are privately-owned and protected with conservation easements. While partaking in these recreational activities, our members enjoy the beauty of these natural places, but your experience does not stop there. You discover, learn about the remarkable lands around you.

Whether you enjoy simply viewing an undeveloped island valley on your drive to the ferry landing, or being in nature —  hiking along a conserved ridge top, or kayaking along a protected piece of shoreline — you are likely breathing deeply, calmly, deliciously, while building a stronger connection to your islands.

We’re saving and sharing special island places for you!

SJPT Publicly-Accessible Preserves

An SJPT-sponsored field trip is not necessary for you to have a first-hand experience of our protected properties. Among the thousands of acres of island land that have been preserved during the Preservation Trust’s history are a few gems that are open for public visitation. Follow the preserve links for more information.

Decatur Island
 — Kimball Preserve

Fidalgo Island
 —Montgomery-Duban Preserve

Guemes Island
Guemes Mountain Preserve
Peach Preserve

Lopez Island
Beecher Preserve

Orcas Island
Crescent Beach Preserve
Frank Richardson Wildfowl Preserve
Turtleback, Turtleneck and Turtlehead Preserves

Shaw Island
Graham Preserve

Vendovi Island Preserve


Water, sky, shoreline, forest. The solace that nature provides can often be what we need most. At the San Juan Preservation Trust, we are committed to expanding public access to beautiful island places so that everyone can experience the best of these islands.

Soon you will receive in your mailbox a request for an annual membership gift. Join or renew your membership with a gift of $100 or more by December 31, and receive an autographed copy of Day Hiking the San Juans and Gulf Islands. This wonderful compact hiking guide by Craig Romano and recently published by Mountaineers Books includes maps, photos and a handy “Hikes at a Glance” table that includes features such as which hikes have the best wildflowers or which are dog-friendly. With 136 hikes throughout the entire San Juan and Gulf Island archipelago to choose from, including those on several SJPT-owned preserves, you’ll have plenty of reasons to get outdoors.

We rely almost entirely on our members to help us acquire new public preserves, build trails and create places for you and your family. When you receive a letter from us this fall, remember that each and every gift, both large and small, becomes part of the future.


Warm, soft-spoken and kind, Charles “Chuck” Ludwig was a well-respected Waldron Island resident for more than six decades. Minnesota-born, Chuck discovered the Pacific Northwest as a conscientious objector during World War II. Afterwards, he and his young family settled on Waldron Island, which he playfully called an unintentional community. A peaceable man, Chuck had a calming influence at community meetings if they grew tense. Community was important to him, and conservation was a passion.

He was not a naturalist, but Chuck could look east from his home to Mount Disney and recognize its rich natural values as well as its beauty. Chuck was instrumental in the permanent protection of Cowlitz Bay Preserve. He, Bitte Baer and Bob Weaver advocated for its preservation, and later, for the Waldron Bitte Baer Preserve. We are grateful they were successful in their efforts, and to the legacy Chuck left when he passed away last June. The San Juan Preservation Trust was the recipient of a wonderful bequest from Chuck’s estate.