June 29: Public comment sought about stewardship of Land Bank's Mt. Ben

San Juan County Land Bank's draft stewardship and management plan for Mount Ben Preserve is available online. The Land Bank is seeking public input on the plan for the 21-acre preserve located on the southern slope of Mount Dallas on San Juan Island.

A public meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 29, 2017 at Mullis Community Senior Center. Public comments will be accepted Friday, June 9, through Friday, July 7. The Land Bank values public input in helping guide the long term care of the county’s conservation areas.

Mt. Ben preserve is accessed by way of Goat Pen Road and abuts an additional 13 acres owned by the San Juan Preservation Trust. Land Bank staff asks that the public please note the Preserve is currently undeveloped and not open to public access.

In addition to being available online, the draft plan can be viewed at the Land Bank office or contact Tanja Williamson at 360-378-4402 or tanjaw@sjclandbank.org to request a copy to be mailed to you.

Although staff prefers written communication in order to be able to accurately reflect on comments, they can also be made by phone, email, personal letter, in person, or during the public meeting.

After the comment period closes, Land Bank staff and commission will review comments and make edits to the draft plan. Barring unforeseen circumstance, the plan will be reviewed by the Land Bank Commission at their monthly meeting on Friday, July 21, 2017. 

More information from the Land Bank's website

Mount Ben Preserve is located on the south shoulder of Mount Dallas. It protects important scenic and ecological resources. The Land Bank and San Juan Preservation Trust have partnered on this project with a goal of providing opportunity for public access to enjoy the beauty and diversity of the Preserve.

The lower reaches of the preserve include mixed forest with gnarled old growth trees while in the upper reaches contain diverse wildflowers and rare prairie and savannah habitat. Outstanding views from the Preserve include the pastoral landscape of San Juan Valley, the rugged shorelines of San Juan and Lopez Islands, and broad vistas across the expanse of Juan De Fuca and Haro Straits to the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island.

The Land Bank and the Preservation Trust first acquired a conservation easement on this property in 2004. The landowner later gifted their remaining interest in the property with the wish that its resources be conserved and made available to the people of San Juan County in perpetuity.

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