The Campaign to Connect the Henrys: FAQs

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Q: What is the current status of this campaign?
A: Click here to see a scrolling web-page presentation with the latest facts and figures. (As a bonus, look here to see aerial video footage of the isthmus that shows its beauty, even in winter.)

Q: What is the Preservation Trust going to do with this property?
While a management plan has not yet been completed, we intend for this to be a conservation area that protects the most sensitive resources on the property while providing low-impact access to beaches, views, and trails.

Q: Given that the property isn’t yet fully paid for, can we still walk out on the isthmus?
Yes, the property is now open to visitation. The Preservation Trust requests that visitors follow these rules:

  • Walk only on established footpaths.
  • Pack out all garbage, including food and pet waste. There are no public garbage facilities.
  • Please respect the privacy of the Preserve’s neighbors.
  • No beach fires of any kind.
  • To protect wildlife, pets must be leashed at all times. Pack out all pet waste, which can disrupt sensitive ecological processes and spread disease to wildlife.
  • No overnight camping.
  • No public moorage is permitted on the dock in Nelson Bay. This is a private, shared dock. While the Preservation Trust can use the dock for stewardship purposes, it does not have the right to allow public access on this dock.
  • No firearms or hunting allowed.
  • Harvesting of plants, animals, driftwood, or other natural features is prohibited except by special permission for scientific or educational purposes.
  • Kayakers are welcome to access the preserve from Mosquito Pass or Open Bay. Beach landings are not permitted from Nelson Bay, as this is a sensitive salt marsh.

Q: How will the Preservation Trust enforce these rules?
Our stewardship program includes a legion of volunteer land stewards who help us keep an eye on the properties we’ve protected. This has worked for us throughout the islands, including on Henry (where we’ve benefited from an engaged and dedicated group of Henry Islanders).

 Q: Will there be any other limits on access?
In addition to its commitment to provide perpetual access across the isthmus to Henry Islanders, the Preservation Trust is also committed to protecting the natural health of this property. Access to some of the more sensitive portions of the preserve may be prohibited, and temporary restrictions may be necessary to repair damaged areas or to protect habitat (e.g., active nesting sites, etc.).

Q: Will the public be invited to access the isthmus?
There has never been an easy place for the public to access Henry Island, and this hasn’t changed. We have long permitted non-motorized boat access to the Mosquito Pass side of the preserve, and we intend to offer similar access via Open Bay on a trial period. We will monitor this use closely, and reserve the right to limit this in the future. In the meantime, it is our intention to keep things as they have always been. That means that the Preservation Trust will welcome all Henry Island residents and their guests to use the preserve. We have no intention of publicizing this new preserve to the general public or inviting the public to use it.

Q: What about the Seattle Yacht Club? Will you allow them access to the preserve?
Yes. The Henry Island community has told us that it is important to include the Seattle Yacht Club, as a fellow Henry landowner, in this effort. We have been pleased to learn from other Henry landowners that the Seattle Yacht Club and their guests are generally perceived as good island citizens. We intend to help the yacht club educate their visitors about the preserve, and will ask the yacht club to assist SJPT and the Henry Island community to in caring for the Preserve.

Q: Will more trails be created on the Preserve?
Yes. Once we have completed the $1.95 million Campaign to Connect the Henrys, it is our intention to build a trail from the isthmus to “The Knoll” overlook, which provides spectacular views over Nelson Bay. We are now working with neighbors to ensure that our trail system is placed in a manner that respects their need for privacy. In keeping with the aesthetic of the isthmus, any new trails and trail signage will be constructed as primitively as possible so that they fit into the landscape.

Q: Walking access from Little Henry onto the isthmus has always required crossing a neighbor’s private property (near where the Henry Perkins grave site is located). Will this be allowed to continue?
We are in positive discussions with these neighbors, and we have engaged a wetland biologist to help us identify an alternative route that avoids intrusion on their land. There are a number of ways that we can provide pedestrians with permanent access from our adjacent Mosquito Pass property (on Little Henry) to the isthmus, and we are committed to finding the most effective and low-impact solution.

Q: The San Juan Preservation Trust has a lot of members. Will it be reaching out to all of its supporters for contributions to this campaign?
No, and we hope we won’t have to. We appreciate that the people of Henry Island are concerned about public access. By limiting this fundraising campaign to Henry landowners, we can justify limiting access to the people of Henry Island and their guests. If we were to expand this campaign to include our supporters who live on other islands (and beyond), we would be obligated to find ways to provide them with access to the preserve.

Q: Could the San Juan Preservation Trust ever sell this property?
The donations received to purchase the isthmus are restricted by each donor to be used specifically to acquire this property and hold it as open space in perpetuity. The San Juan Preservation Trust is an accredited land trust with significant financial resources already set aside to meet its perpetual responsibilities, but should it ever need to shed its holdings, it would be obligated to convey its preserves (including the isthmus), along with stewardship funds, to an organization or agency that will honor the original donors’ intent. In short: Whoever owns this property in the distant future, be it the San Juan Preservation Trust or another entity, must manage it as a nature preserve that is accessible to Henry Islanders and their guests.

Q: Is the Preservation Trust paying a fair price for these properties?
With more local land transactions under our belt than any other individual, organization or government agency operating in the San Juan Islands, we’re experienced enough to know that determining a true market value in these diverse islands is a challenging proposition. That said, we are very comfortable that, based on our research and diligence, the price we negotiated reflects fair market value. In fact, an independent appraisal of the 15-acre “Knoll” parcel (included in this deal) valued it at $1 million, or $200,000 above what we paid for it.

Q: Why did you let one of the landowners retain their home site adjacent to the isthmus?
The family behind Henry Island Enclave LLC are longtime residents of Henry Island. Their desire is to remain in the community, and this was a precondition of their sale. They understand that, by selling to the Preservation Trust, they have given up the control they once held over the isthmus and Driftwood Beach, and that a community-accessible trail will be placed very close to the site of their current cabin.

Q: Whom can I contact with more questions about the project?
Tim Seifert, Executive Director (and resident of Henry Island)
The San Juan Preservation Trust
Email:   Cell: (360) 317-5523

Q: Whom can I contact to lend my support to the fundraising effort?
Barbara Courtney, Director of Philanthropy
The San Juan Preservation Trust
Email:    Phone: (360) 376-2431

MAKE A DONATION TO THIS CAMPAIGN  (choose “Campaign to Connect The Henrys” from the drop-down menu).

Here’s some aerial video footage of the Henry Island Isthmus that was filmed in February 2017. It just goes to show that this is an extraordinarily beautiful island place even in the middle of winter!