To many, the west side of San Juan Island is quintessential San Juan Islands: lichen-and moss-covered bedrock exposed to the elements, twisted and gnarled old Douglas firs and madrones, pebbly pocket beaches reaching toward the waving kelp beds, fishing herons, and an occasional orca whale beyond in Haro Strait. Thanks to Walter and Ruth MacGinitie of San Juan Island, a significant stretch of this lovely coastline was protected in perpetuity in two transactions made over the span of a decade.
“We love our place in the islands and are still exploring it,” said the MacGinities when they made their first donation of a conservation easement in 1998. “There’s so much to love; the sound of whales and oystercatchers along the shore, watching sandpipers and otters in the coves, looking across the straits to the Olympics. More than anything, it’s the sense of wildness and quiet that we treasure. It’s a feast for the eyes, ears, and spirit.”
The property, which Ruth’s parents purchased in the 1950’s, has been their home for many years. “We came out every summer from back east with our kids,” said Ruth, “and we want the land to stay as wild and quiet as it is now. We hope this easement will make it possible for our grandson’s kids to come to know and love this place in the same way that we do.”