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Cady Mountain preserve expands to 470 acres on San Juan Island

SAN JUAN COUNTY, WA. August 29, 2022 - This summer, Cady Mountain Preserve grew by another 40 acres and extended the heart of San Juan Island’s conservation complex to a total of 470 acres. This is the sixth acquisition in and around Cady Mountain, and it provides a piece necessary to secure future public access and protects a significant amount of mature forest.

Years in the Making

“The parcel has been of keen interest to the Conservation Land Bank since the establishment of Cady Mountain Preserve in 2002,” said San Juan County’s Land Bank Director, Lincoln Bormann. “Not only does it adjoin the Land Bank’s existing preserve, it also hosts a portion of the mountain’s summit, affording stellar views of Turtleback Mountain and south across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Mountains.”

Several years ago, the property was listed for $2 million; however, with prior commitments already in the project pipeline, the Land Bank Commission moved the property to their wish list.

“What first struck me were the massive old growth Douglas-fir trees, larger than almost any others I’ve seen after two decades of exploring all of the publicly accessible forests on San Juan,” said Land Bank Commissioner, David Meiland. “They really tell a story of what the island’s forests were like before being logged off to fuel the lime kilns.”

The Commission’s patience was rewarded last summer, when the owners reached out to the Land Bank with the offer of a conservation sale. Over the coming months, County staff from the Land Bank negotiated purchase and sale details, and on May 17, 2022, the San Juan County Council accepted the deed, reinforcing their support of county conservation efforts.

“This property will be an amazing resource for islanders and is critical to our shared future as everything continues to change around us,” noted Council Member, Christine Minney. “How great is it that we have a Land Bank to continue to find these projects and make them happen?”

Next Steps

In addition to the mature conifer trees, this new 40 acres also has mature Garry oaks, and restoration of these important habitat areas will be a future management priority.

Resource assessments that focus on the ecology, and the area’s cultural and historic significance, will occur prior to public access and inform both Land Bank’s long-term management strategy and the details of a conservation easement to be held by local non-profit San Juan Preservation Trust. This process may take up to two years but is necessary to assure that this core area of contiguous forest is protected in perpetuity. Opportunities for community engagement, such as guided tours and volunteer work parties, will be offered in the near future.

“Access to the Cady Mountain Preserve, and the proximity to English Camp and the Roche Harbor watershed will make it one of our most special wild areas,” said Meiland. “It’s a really magical place.”

About the San Juan County Conservation Land Bank

The San Juan County Conservation Land Bank is a local land conservation program, created by voters in 1990, and funded by a 1% real estate excise tax paid by purchasers of property in San Juan County. Through conservation easements or outright purchases, the Land Bank protects special places in the Islands including coastlines, farmland, forests and wetlands.

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