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Aerial photo of Beaverton Marsh in winter | Joe Belcovson

We encourage you to watch the video in full-screen mode. The scenery is worth it!

Our island community now has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to protect the Beaverton Valley wetland and adjacent forest ecosystem. Forever.

Map showing existing preserves and the new acquisition property that completes the Beaverton Valley Preserve.

On the northwestern outskirts of Friday Harbor lies Beaverton Valley, a scenic valley and ridge that includes the largest freshwater wetlands complex in San Juan County. Last year, this 325-acre property was listed for sale, creating a one-time opportunity to complete a single, integrated Beaverton Valley Preserve.

The new 500-acre combined preserve will not only protect an ecologically rich habitat for abundant wildlife, it will also provide an extraordinary nature preserve within walking distance of the town of Friday Harbor, schools, and densely-populated residential areas.

The Preservation Trust is now working to raise $1.2 million from private philanthropic sources to ensure the permanent protection of this property.

The property possesses many conservation-worthy natural values:

  • Class I high functioning wetlands systemFreshwater wetlands serve many vital functions. They provide year-round and seasonal wildlife habitat; water purification, storage, and aquifer recharge.  They also store as much (or more) carbon than forests. The San Juan County Watershed Management Action Plan has identified preservation and restoration of these wetlands as the highest priority action for the health of the Friday Harbor watershed.
  • Diverse wildlife, particularly waterfowlRare Eurasian widgeons and the more common American widgeon are spotted feeding here. Trumpeter swans, hooded mergansers, mallards, Northern pintails*, green-winged teals, gadwalls, Northern shovelers and bufflehead ducks also visit the wetland in winter. Nesting songbirds observed on the property include common yellowthroats, marsh wrens, song sparrows, and red-winged blackbirds.
  • Upland forestThe higher ground encompasses mixed forests of conifer and deciduous trees, interspersed with rocky bald outcroppings that provide vantage points for viewing wildlife.

What’s in It for YOU

The benefits to you, your family, friends and neighbors, and for generations to come, are significant:

  • Healthy time in nature: As research grows about the benefits of spending time in nature for physical and mental health, the value of this project to community members cannot be overstated. A pedestrian path will connect the Beaverton Valley Preserve with the John O. Linde Community Park. This new recreational trail will provide an unprecedented opportunity for Friday Harbor (and other island) residents, students, and visitors to enjoy long walks right from town to a unique ecosystem.
  • Wildlife viewing: The vision for Beaverton Valley Preserve includes creating blinds or platforms for observing birds and other wildlife, year-round.
  • Protected views: Uninterrupted natural views along both Beaverton Valley and Roche Harbor Roads will be permanently protected, thus preserving a pastoral aspect of island life enjoyed by past, current, and future generations of residents and visitors.
  • Wetland Enhancement: Ownership of the marsh in its near entirety will allow for expanded flexibility in managing and restoring the habitat to provide the best benefit for wildlife and native plants.

Download the detailed Case Statement (includes a Pledge Form)

Towards our $1.2 million campaign goal, an anonymous island family has stepped forward with a generous challenge opportunity: They will match every dollar received for the project by May 1, 2020, up to a total of $500,000. Early leadership gifts totaling $400,000 have been pledged to date.

To discuss making a gift: Contact Barbara Courtney, Director of Philanthropy, at barbara@sjpt.org or 360-376-2431.

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