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Greetings from the San Juans

Trumpeter swans on zylstra lake, san juan island | staff archive

January 2018

Welcome to the fifth issue of the San Juan Preservation Trust’s email newsletter. We hope you will enjoy our digital postcard with news and notes about SJPT’s work in the San Juan Islands.

Please, write us back with your questions, comments, and ideas.

Protect the island places you love!

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Steve McKeon

Marilyn and Fred Ellis's final resting place

Note from Tim: a peerless family legacy


This quote, chiseled into the tombstone that stands above his final resting place on Shaw Island, tells you that Fred Ellis Sr. was a man of surprises:

“Mortality is the price we pay for sex.”

One of Fred’s many surprises may have been responsible for the Preservation Trust’s greatest single accomplishment, and yet another was delivered to us recently—long after he passed away. …

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News from SJPT

Tim Seifert

Ending the year with a bang

In spite of the past year's political turmoil, 2017 will go down in SJPT history as a bright one, especially considering three major events that happened near year's end. Read about them in the Note from Tim (above) and in the three stories below.

Photos: top left - Ellis homestead (Staff archive); top right - Zylstra lake (andrew o'neill); bottom - henry island isthmus (Staff archive)

Maggie Mackinlay

ellis family donates record-breaking shaw island preserve

On the last day of 2017, a closing took place that represents the largest donation—as measured in both acres and appraised value—that the Preservation Trust has ever received. The newly created Ellis Family Preserve spans 345 acres and includes well over a mile of pristine shoreline on southwestern Shaw Island, bordering Parks and Hicks Bays. ...

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Photo: staff archive

Maggie Mackinlay

Zylstra lake: a done deal!

On December 20, almost two years to the day since the San Juan County Land Bank and the Preservation Trust signed an agreement to purchase the Zylstra Lake property on San Juan Island, the acquisition was completed when the Land Bank paid off the remaining balance on the note—a full year before the final payment was due.

“This is one of the most exciting projects that we’ve ever undertaken with our partners at the Land Bank,” said Tim Seifert, executive director of the Preservation Trust. ...

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Photo: c. w. Grant

Maggie Mackinlay

the henrys: Connected!

We are thrilled that, in these first days of 2018, we can declare the successful completion of our $1.95 million Campaign to Connect the Henrys!

Once slated for a residential development that could have turned the Henry Island isthmus—a natural gem of the San Juans—into an exclusive enclave, this connection between the two halves of Henry Island is now assured to remain accessible to all and protected in its undeveloped natural state forever. ...

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Photo of the Month


Photo credit: christopher s. teren |

San Juan Island pilot and photographer Chris Teren took this photo of a snow-frosted Turtleback Mountain (on Orcas Island) from his airplane on the winter solstice—Thursday, December 21, 2017.

Upcoming Events


January 19 | annual winter swan count

Help count the Trumpeter Swans in San Juan County. For details, contact Kathleen Foley (email or call 360-317-1180).

8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Free

may 5 | sjpt annual meeting & field trip

Save the date and watch for more details next month. To be held at the San Juan Island Yacht Club.

Meeting: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Field trip immediately following.

may 6 | year of the bird event

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Act with a presentation at Red Mill Farm followed by a field trip.

Exact time and more details TBA.

Partners in Perpetuity

Christian and Lea Andrade

Name: John Carl

Gann Society members since: 2016

Place of residence: Deer Harbor (Orcas Island)

Favorite island place: The south trail on Turtleback Mountain Preserve

Quote: “Our islands—there's not another place like them. Lucky we have the San Juan Preservation Trust to protect these jewels. SJPT has a lot of things going for it—love of place, vision, perseverance. And while they need our support today, they also need it tomorrow, so I am happy to offer a bequest. Here's how I see it: My asset today may be dollars, but ultimately I am going to trade that for an even better one: a view, a stream, a farm, a hike.

The Gann Society

The Gann Society is a group of individuals who have notified us that they have provided for the San Juan Preservation Trust in their estate plans. Their planned giving will help protect the San Juan Islands forever. Please consider providing for the San Juan Preservation Trust in your will.

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The San Juan Preservation Trust

PO Box 759, Friday Harbor, WA 98250

360-378-2461 |


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