Great News for a North Whidbey Gem
Conservation easement protects 315 acres of this historic farm
The protection of this farm and forest landscape is a major success that your support of our operations made possible, allowing us to work with the landowner and partner with Island County and the Navy for funding. “Protecting Fakkema Farm is one of the most significant gifts I can imagine for my community,” said County Commissioner Jill Johnson.
A conservation easement of this size and scope seemed almost impossible at first; however, for the Land Trust, years of perseverance, hard work, and the vital help of community partners made it a reality.
With its expansive open space and significant beauty so close to Oak Harbor, this land is highly valued by our community, especially North Whidbey residents. The farm’s 215 acres of open fields and 100 acres of contiguous forest form an important wildlife corridor with abundant edge habitat. The land is also of vital importance to the water quality of both Swantown watershed and nearby Puget Sound.
The farm, which has operated for more than 100 years, sits beneath a forested ridge rising from the southern part of Island County’s Swantown Lake property.
“The farm was originally started with grass seed crops, turkeys, and chickens by Captain Griffith,” shared Dick Fakkema. “Our dad transitioned it into a dairy farm in the late 1950s, which operated until 2001. Today, the farm produces Wagyu beef and feed crops, along with pastured chickens, turkeys, and pigs.”
It is by far the largest farmland project ever completed in Island County. In fact, this single transaction increased the total farmland acreage the Land Trust has protected by almost 20 percent. To give this some perspective, the working farmland area of the property is almost double that of 3 Sisters Farm, previously the largest working farm protected by the Land Trust.
This project will also provide a new path to the beach! As part of the transaction, the Land Trust acquired an easement for a small parking lot and public walking trail along the northern boundary of the farm. Once the necessary funding is found, the future trail will link the outskirts of Oak Harbor to several miles of public tidelands parallel to West Beach Road, close to Joseph Whidbey State Park.
We couldn’t be happier to share this latest protection success with you, and hope you’ll help us spread the good news!
More Beachview Farm Facts:
Habitat: The farm has 100 acres of contiguous forest and 215 acres of open space, forming a wildlife corridor from the County’s Swantown Lake property to the edge of Oak Harbor, including abundant “edge habitat” that supports a diversity of native animals and plants.
Protected species: Sensitive species documented on the farm include Townsend’s bigeared bat, big brown bat, and bald eagle.
Water resources: Protecting the farm is critical for maintaining downstream water quality in the Swantown Watershed and nearby Puget Sound. Limiting development will also maintain the farm’s aquifer recharge and flood-abatement functions.
Productive soils: The Beachview Farm includes 120 acres of prime farmland soils of national importance.