“Tiptop Hill,” the highest point on Stuart Island, is a distinctive sentinel that stands at the entrance to the San Juan Islands and serves an important landmark for mariners who are approaching the United States from Canadian waters. The San Juan Preservation Trust has been working for decades on Tiptop—which had long been identified as a regional priority for conservation—to protect the old-growth trees, native grasslands, and Garry oak savannah that thrive on its undeveloped camelback-shaped ridgeline.
David Black, who served as an SJPT trustee for more than 20 years, had a special affinity for Tiptop Hill that began in his boyhood. With his wife Inez, David was also one of the Preservation Trust’s first loyal major donors. In addition to recognizing the importance of supporting the organization’s day-to-day operations with annual donations, he also provided the lead gifts that launched a number of SJPT’s earliest land acquisition campaigns. A gentle and generous man, David—who passed away in 2007 while still serving on our board—reveled in our efforts to permanently protect Tiptop Hill, and would often bid farewell to his conservation colleagues with a wave and a hearty “See you on Tiptop!”