At 5,500 acres, Cypress Island is the largest non-ferry-served island in the San Juans. Eighty-five percent of the island is managed as a Natural and Conservation Area by the Washington Department of Natural Resources. In 1998, Anita deGive donated this conservation easement on five of privately-owned acres, which marked the first parcel of land protected by the Preservation Trust on Cypress Island.
deGive discovered Cypress Island in 1976 and bought property there eight years later after becoming a member of the Friends of Cypress Island. She promised herself at that time that she would put a conservation easement on her property when she could and, once her land was paid off, she carried through on her pledge.
“I believe in putting my money where my mouth is,” said deGive. “I felt I couldn’t talk about preserving the land without doing something about it. I’m hoping others on Cypress will step up and follow suit.”
The outdoors have been special to deGive since childhood when her parents took her to the Appalachian Mountains in northern Georgia every weekend and most of the summer. “We were lucky enough to be raised out in the woods near a small lake,” she explained. “It gets in your blood.”
What does she love most about her property today? “The quiet. It’s so quiet it hurts.”