| Published: September 29, 2010 – 5:00 pm
For Release – September 29, 2010
Whidbey Camano Land Trust
Contact: Elizabeth Guss, Director of Development and Outreach
Smiling as the deed was recorded, Pat Powell, executive director of the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, completed the transaction to purchase the 664-acre Trillium forest on central Whidbey Island. More than 1485 individual donations made the purchase possible. A soldier overseas contributed $5.00. An anonymous donor concerned with the survival of wildlife habitat came forward with a very significant gift that allowed the Land Trust to purchase the property. In between were 1483 other named donations.
“It seemed impossible in March and yet it happened,” says Pat Powell. “Hundreds of people took a stand to save wildlife habitat, open space, and a place for people to be out in nature. With their dollars and their effort, they voted this a high priority. The impossible dream came true in September. Our hearts are brimming with gratitude.”
Powell emphasized that the property will never be developed and can only be used for protecting natural habitats and providing appropriate non-motorized recreational activities, such as hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. The Land Trust will own the property for about a year, enough time to develop the site management plan and the conservation easement, the legally binding agreement that will confirm protection of the land, limiting the way it can be used. Then, the Land Trust will transfer it to Island County.
The Land Trust is securing the property by installing gates and signs at appropriate locations. Partnering with Island County, the Land Trust will soon assemble an advisory committee to develop a long-term site management plan. Simultaneously, the Land Trust will also develop a team of volunteers to help oversee and care for the forest.
“We expect to open the property officially to the public in the spring of 2011”, said Cheryl Lowe of the Land Trust. “Careful stewardship of a property of this size requires time. We want to do it right. We’re still gratefully accepting monetary donations and offers of stewardship that will help us care for the forest,” Lowe added.
“It is a powerful testimony to the values of our community,” commented County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson. “The County will take over ownership of this property in the next year. However the community still must play a significant role. Our agreement with WCLT is that there will be a maintenance fund of $50,000 and a cadre of volunteers to care for this property in the years ahead. The many people who supported this effort now can continue their commitment by volunteering time and/or financial support toward the Trillium woods for the ongoing stewardship of this unique natural open space. I am confident that our amazing community will step up to this challenge and provide the resources necessary for this valuable public asset.”
The Trillium property has been owned by timber companies and by land developers. To celebrate the property’s rebirth as a community forest, it needs a new name. To offer a possible name, download a form from www.wclt.org/rename.pdf or come to the Whidbey Camano Land Trust office in Barn C at the Greenbank Farm (765 Wonn Road in Greenbank). Submit the form by November 15. A selected panel will choose from among the names submitted to the Land Trust.