Ten acres on the southwest-facing slope of San Juan Island’s Mount Dallas was bequeathed to the Preservation Trust in 2003 in the estate of Celia Hunter, a well-known Alaskan environmental activist with long-time ties to the San Juans.
Celia was involved in every significant conservation issue in Alaska’s recent history, beginning in the 1940s. She was a founding member of the Alaska Conservation Society, a board member of both The Wilderness Society and Alaska Nature Conservancy, and served on the Federal-State Land Use Planning Commission. In 1991 she was given the John Muir Award, the Sierra Club’s highest honor.
The stunning view property, which Celia owned with her longtime companion Ginny Wood, was initially protected with a “forever wild” conservation easement donated to the Preservation Trust in 1992. It encompasses open forest, rock outcrops, grassland, and a wooded area along West Side Road. The upper reaches provide perch sites and hunting grounds for raptors, but the land is most prized for its native wildflower habitat. The restoration of this remnant prairie ecosystem has been the focus of SJPT’s stewardship efforts in recent years.
Under Preservation Trust stewardship, the Celia Hunter Preserve will be safeguarded in perpetuity—a tribute to the legacy of an extraordinary woman with an unwavering passion for nature.