Over 280 acres Secured in San Juan Valley

Posted January 9, 2018 at 2:45 pm by

Andrew O'Neill photo

2018 looks like anoth­er busy and excit­ing year for your Land Bank! Almost two years to the day, and a full year before the loan was due, the high­ly antic­i­pat­ed acqui­si­tion of the Zyl­stra Lake prop­er­ty on San Juan Island came to a fruit­ful end. The pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship of the San Juan Coun­ty Land Bank and the San Juan Preser­va­tion Trust once again suc­cess­ful­ly pooled their cre­ative and finan­cial resources to con­serve more than 280 acres of San Juan Val­ley open space, includ­ing the 60 acre Zyl­stra lake complex.

“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. “There are few places left on San Juan Island that can pro­vide so many ben­e­fits for so many peo­ple, so Zyl­stra Lake has always ranked among our high­est pri­or­i­ties for protection.”
Fund­ing for the project was pro­vid­ed via a $1m fed­er­al Coastal Wet­lands Con­ser­va­tion grant; a pend­ing state grant; the sale of the adja­cent “Octo­ber Farm” prop­er­ty; and San Juan Coun­ty Land Bank and Preser­va­tion Trust funds. As with Mount Grant Pre­serve on San Juan Island and Turtle­back Moun­tain Pre­serve on Orcas Island, Zyl­stra will be owned and man­aged by the Land Bank, and the Preser­va­tion Trust will hold a con­ser­va­tion ease­ment on it.

Next Steps: 

“Mak­ing the final pay­ment to the sell­er is the first step in cre­at­ing a per­ma­nent man­age­ment plan for Zyl­stra,” said Land Bank direc­tor, Lin­coln Bor­mann. “Right now though, we are extreme­ly grate­ful for our part­ners who helped to con­serve the prop­er­ty. It will be an amaz­ing addi­tion to the community.”
With own­er­ship of the Zyl­stra Lake Pre­serve now secure, the Land Bank can begin plan­ning for its long term stew­ard­ship, includ­ing pub­lic access to the lake and sur­round­ing fields. In order to keep the process mov­ing for­ward, an out­side con­sul­tant will be hired to lead the com­plex project as Land Bank staff are com­mit­ted to plan­ning and site enhance­ment projects at Mount Grant and oth­er pre­serves in the County. 
“This is lit­er­al­ly a once in a life­time oppor­tu­ni­ty for the peo­ple of San Juan Coun­ty. Pub­lic input will be crit­i­cal to help­ing shape the vision for Zyl­stra Lake. We will lis­ten care­ful­ly and work hard to accom­mo­date as many ideas and requests as pos­si­ble for this unique prop­er­ty,” says Doug McCutchen, Pre­serve Stew­ard for the Land Bank. “Please stay tuned for oppor­tu­ni­ties to par­tic­i­pate in our first pub­lic scop­ing meet­ing lat­er this spring.”

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