San Juan Preservation Trust

Island Dispatch

December 2013

Photo by Jane Fox

New Trail Connects Turtleback Preserves

In late August, we cut the ribbon and opened up Orcas Island’s new Turtleneck trail. This trail crosses 110 acres of land acquired by the San Juan Preservation Trust in 2012 that had long separated the Turtleback Mountain Preserve from the Turtlehead Preserve, two of our most-beloved places. With its breathtaking 360-degree views of surrounding islands, the Turtlehead Preserve had, until now, been inaccessible to the public.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony also celebrated a highly-effective partnership between the Preservation Trust, the San Juan County Land Bank, the Washington Trails Association (WTA) and the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC).  Each brought resources that were essential to the creation of the trail: working alongside local volunteers, this model partnership navigated the stubborn contours of the rocky hillside to build a beautiful and lasting trail.

Visitors can now begin this moderately-challenging hike of about five miles (round-trip) from the north trailhead of the Turtleback Mountain Preserve. We heartily recommend that you lace up your boots, hit the trail, and enjoy the splendor of our Turtlehead Preserve. It is worth the effort!


New Trail Opens on Shaw Island

To ensure that their land would remain in the same natural state as they had enjoyed it, the late Ernest and Beverly Graham – longtime residents of Shaw Island – bequeathed their 99-acre property to the San Juan Preservation Trust in 2009. Situated on a bank overlooking Shaw’s Squaw Bay, the property links the Shaw Island Community Center near Blind Bay to Shaw Island County Park on Indian Cove. Employing countless hours of volunteer labor, including the muscle of more than 50 young volunteers from the San Juan and Lopez Island Youth Conservation Corps, Shaw Island School, and Bellingham’s Explorations Academy, a delightful 0.8-mile pedestrian path now meanders through the Graham Preserve’s quiet forest.

The Preservation Trust looks forward to reuniting with the many trail volunteers and the Shaw Island community at a grand opening ceremony in the coming spring. We know that Ernest and Beverly would be pleased to know that generations of Shaw residents and visitors will enjoy this lasting gift to their beloved island.