The Everett farm on Guemes, 80 acres of woods and wetlands not far from the ferry dock, was protected by conservation easements donated by a group of people who came together in 2000. The transaction was negotiated by Ferdi Businger, a former member of the Preservation Trust’s board of trustees who now serves on as an emeritus land counselor.
The buyers bought the land as a group, agreed on a county-required Native Growth Protection Area conservation easement for the wetlands, and then protected all the land with another conservation easement. The second easement limits future development to five home sites, leaving large blocks of woodland habitat. After the easements were completed, the property was divided into four parcels, one for each member. The property could have been platted to five-acre pieces.
“I was looking for property on Guemes when Ferdi approached me,” said Holly Bowman, one of the purchasers. “I’ve been interested in preservation and the environment for some time, and the idea that a group of us could purchase this tract together, with the understanding that we all shared a philosophy about the use of the land, well, it was a real gift, I think the concept of conservation buyers pooling resources as we did is just terrific.”
“Keeping the land as it is – not further subdividing it – and knowing our neighbors would do the same was very comforting, ” said Joel Brock, another purchaser and visual artist in the Skagit Valley. “It was a key part of our participation, and something I feel really good about.”
Walter Groninger of Seattle was another purchaser. “I think The San Juan Preservation Trust is essential to the protection of the islands,” he remarked, “and I’m happy to help protect Guemes from over-development by placing my land in the Trust.”