An iconic pasture that serves as the gateway to San Juan Island’s scenic San Juan Valley has been purchased by the San Juan Preservation Trust and the San Juan County Land Bank. This 120-acre acquisition, including 78 highly visible acres at the corner of Douglas Road and San Juan Valley Road, and a separate 38-acre parcel along Douglas Road, is adjacent to the 725-acre Red Mill Farm conservation easement (donated to the Preservation Trust by Dodie and Ernest Gann).
The land was purchased in 2009 for $2.1 million from the estate of Wade Sundstrom. The Preservation Trust, which contributed $500,000 to the project, will own the property and manage it as a working farm. The San Juan County Land Bank, which took the lead in the negotiations, will retain a conservation easement that encourages agriculture and eliminates residential development.
“Protection of farmland in San Juan Valley is an opportunity for our organization and the island community,” said Tim Seifert, executive director of the Preservation Trust. “In addition to preserving the scenic heartland of San Juan Island, this valley contains some of the most fertile agricultural soils in the entire county.” The acquisition of this portion of the Wade Sundstrom farm expands the permanent protection of farmland in San JuanValley to just over 1,000 acres.
“The Sundstrom family played an important part in saving the farm,” added Lincoln Bormann, director of the San Juan County Land Bank. “They had higher offers from people who wanted to develop the property. Instead they chose to honor their heritage.”
“I know my family, extended family, and the community appreciate the value of preserving this property,” said Betsy Dues, Wade Sundstrom’s daughter. “In the years to come, when our family visits the farm and looks out over cattle grazing in the fields and takes in the amazing sunsets, we will all be forever grateful.”