Twenty-one inland acres in the heart of Stuart Island were given a new name – the Wren Hill Preserve – and, with it, a new destiny. This forested property, with a small clearing and pond, was acquired by the Preservation Trust in June 1999 from Susan and Peter Risser through the generosity of the Cooley Gilliom-Cooley Family Partnership.
“This is a dream come true,” says Peter Risser who now lives on San JuanIsland. “it had always been our intention to leave the property to the Preservation Trust when we passed on. As it turned out, we needed to sell it and move to San Juan, so we couldn’t be more thrilled that the land is being preserved in this way.”
Located across from the Stuart Island School at the northwest foot of Tiptop Hill, the preserve is a haven for the ravens, pileated woodpeckers and the diminutive wrens for which it is has been named.
Ospreys nest in a tall snag near the eastern boundary. The lush mixed-species forest of cedar, fir, maple, yew and madrone lies along the route walked annually by hundreds of boaters anchored in Reid and Prevost harbors as they make the popular hike to Turn Point lighthouse.
“I know how meaningful it is for small-island communities to have areas set aside for nature to exist undisturbed,” said Rachel Adams, a former board member. “The Wren Hill Preserve is a beautiful example of a lasting legacy created by conservation minded donors and the Trust working together. We are deeply grateful to the Cooley Gilliom-Cooley Family Partnership for its support of the new preserve.”