Glenwood Inn Property Shoreline | SJPT Staff Photo
The San Juan County Conservation Land Bank and San Juan Preservation Trust announced on March 10, 2022, that they jointly submitted an offer to purchase the Glenwood Inn property on Orcas Island. The property includes a third of a mile of shoreline, which the conservation partners would open for public access while protecting near-shore natural features to aid salmon-recovery efforts.
View toward Saturna Island from Glenwood Inn property | SJPT Staff Photo
The 58-acre former waterfront resort, located near Point Doughty on the northwest tip of Orcas, was listed for sale on February 19. The Land Bank/SJPT partnership submitted an offer on Thursday, March 10—the last day of the seller’s specified bidding period. Their offer was based on a market analysis by an independent appraisal firm. We understand, however, that another party bettered our offer.
“We weren’t entirely surprised that we were outbid, given the current hyper-competitive real estate market,” said Angela Anderson, the Preservation Trust’s executive director. “Of course we’re disappointed, but we remain ‘in the game’ and are hopeful that a conservation outcome may yet come to pass.”
“At the Preservation Trust and Conservation Land Bank,” she added, “we felt we absolutely needed to go ‘all in’ to pursue this rare opportunity to secure community access to shoreline on Orcas Island, in addition to conserving critical habitat to support the salmon-Orca food chain.”
Public access to saltwater is notoriously scarce on Orcas Island. Most of the island’s relatively few public beaches are small; for years, many members of the Orcas community have held the dream of a lengthy stretch of shoreline available for public enjoyment and recreation. The former Glenwood Inn property offers a rare opportunity to make this dream a reality.
“Our purchase offer showed just how important we recognize this property is for the community on many levels,” said Land Bank Director Lincoln Bormann. “The northwestern shore of Orcas is truly one of the most outstanding natural areas on the island, and in fact, throughout the county, and it’s integral to the Lummi Nation’s tribal heritage. Protecting it from development and restoring and retaining its natural character would mark a step toward respecting this living history.”
“In addition to the much-needed public shoreline access that the Glenwood property would provide,” said Preservation Trust Board Member Barbara Rosenkotter, “this site has been identified as a top-priority location to protect for salmon recovery efforts. The nearshore area provides an important nursery for young salmon. The shoreline harbors extensive beds of eelgrass, which provides habitat for forage fish along with juvenile salmon. All are important links in a healthy Salish Sea ecosystem and critical to the survival of our Southern Resident Orcas.”
The ultimate fate of the Glenwood property remains uncertain. “As Yogi Berra said, ‘It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,’” quipped the Land Bank’s Bormann. “Until the property deed is recorded on behalf of another buyer, we remain hopeful that this tremendous opportunity for community conservation could still go our way.”
If it does, look for more news on how you can help support the effort.