After two years of fundraising, the $4.2 million Campaign for Mount Grant Preserve has come to a successful completion. The 141-acre ridgeline, which includes open grassy knolls and stately old-growth Douglas firs, is now permanently protected.

The San Juan County Land Bank made an initial investment of $1.5 million in this project—one-half of the property’s purchase price of $3 million. The San Juan Preservation Trust raised the remaining $2.7 million, including a $1 million stewardship fund for the long-term care of the property, from private philanthropic sources. More than 850 families, residents of San Juan and surrounding islands as well as visitors, contributed more than 1,200 gifts to top out the campaign.

View from the summit of Mount Grant (photo by Alice Hurd)

View from the summit of Mount Grant (photo by Alice Hurd)

In addition to its rich endowment of native plant and animal habitat, the Mount Grant property will offer multiple recreational opportunities. From its summit, visitors can take in remarkable views in every direction. An existing road to the top was opened to vehicles on select “Sundays on the Summit” over the course of the campaign. Time and again, expressions of “Wow, I never knew this was here!” could be heard as visitors got out of their cars or completed the one-mile hike to the top to take in the 360-degree views.

A volunteer steering committee of 18 community members advocated and raised funds for the project. Hiking and equestrian groups, students, visual artists, musicians, and other volunteers contributed their labor, talents, advocacy, and countless hours to the campaign’s success. Stewardship funds will be used to build trails and other visitor amenities, maintain the summit road, control invasive plants, and implement restoration of compromised portions of the preserve. “Acquisition is only the beginning,” says Kathleen Foley, Stewardship Manager of the San Juan Preservation Trust. “Our job now, as stewards of the land, is to balance human enjoyment and safety with protection of the fragile aspects of a nature preserve.”

Now that the campaign is complete, the property will be owned and managed by the San Juan County Land Bank, and the Preservation Trust will hold a conservation easement on it. A management plan will be developed through a process that includes significant public input. “We will listen carefully and work hard to accommodate as many ideas and requests as possible,” says Doug McCutchen, Preserve Steward for the Land Bank. “Please stay tuned and participate in the public scoping meetings that will soon be announced.”

For more information on the progress of the management plan and public input, visit sjclandbank.org.