In the spring of 2003, the San Juan Preservation Trust completed the acquisition and demolition of an abandoned summer camp along Reid Harbor on Stuart Island, successfully rehabilitating and returning the 13-acre forested waterfront property to its natural state.
When a small group of Stuart islanders approached the Preservation Trust in the fall of 2001 to discuss acquisition of the property, it contained the neglected remains of Camp Harmony, a children’s camp that had been abandoned nearly a decade earlier. “This forest is spectacular and the shoreline as classic San Juans as can be,” said Ruthie Johns, then the Preservation Trust’s Lands Manager. “It has been very rewarding to restore this beautiful place to a natural condition.”
After a year and a half of work, the Preservation Trust staff, with the help of over 25 volunteers, successfully dismantled and removed the old camp structures (including a dangerously deteriorated dock) and donated salvaged materials to a variety of island organizations. “One of the most exciting days in the restoration was when we removed the old water-system dam and let the spring-fed stream flow once again into Reid Harbor,” said Johns. The camp bell now rings at Stuart Island School, and the camp water tank and hoses are serving the Waldron Island Fire Brigade. Camp Nor’Wester on Johns Island was pleased to receive plastic drums, foam mats, and appliances. A variety of other materials have been put to good use throughout the islands.
in 2006 the same visionary group of Stuart Islanders donated funds that enabled the Trust to add an adjacent 4 acres of shoreline property to the original preserve.
In addition to having high conservation value in its own right, the Reid Harbor Preserve complements two other natural areas along Reid Harbor, including Stuart Island State Park and a nearby forested waterfront property that is permanently protected by a conservation easement. Taken together, these properties preserve a significant amount of natural shoreline around a beautiful and popular bay.