The Preservation Trust’s very first conservation easement on San Juan Island came through a donation by Mat and Katherine Mottola in 1987. A lovely 40-acre forested parcel, dotted with wetlands, was called the “Marsh-Hill Wildlife Sanctuary” by the Mottolas. It was their vision to manage the land for the enhancement of wildlife.
A partial inventory of the plants on the property includes over 200 species, including a locally rare wildflower, the phantom orchid (Cephalanthera austiniae). Under the terms of the conservation easement, only one modest residence will be allowed near one corner of the parcel. Sadly, Mat passed away in 2009, but his legacy of a strong conservation ethic lives on in this beautiful hillside on San Juan Island.