Record $5.2 Million Gift Expands Turtleback Preserve

Posted July 31, 2020 at 1:03 pm by

Great news from San Juan Preser­va­tion Trust! Record gift expends Turtle­back Pre­serve plus the prece­dent-set­ting dona­tion also returns land to the Lum­mi Nation.

View from Turtleback - John Miller photo

The San Juan Coun­ty Land Bank and San Juan Preser­va­tion Trust today announced the acqui­si­tion and per­ma­nent con­ser­va­tion of a 36-acre addi­tion to the Turtle­back Moun­tain Pre­serve on Orcas Island. Con­cur­rent­ly, an adja­cent six-acre par­cel was returned to the Lum­mi Nation. Pur­chase of all 42+/- acres (total) was prompt­ed by the vision and gen­eros­i­ty of Mal­colm Good­fel­low, whose $5.2 mil­lion gift is thought to be the largest char­i­ta­ble cash dona­tion in San Juan Coun­ty history.

Good­fel­low, an island res­i­dent, took note when a prop­er­ty referred to as “Hai­da Point” was list­ed for sale in April. He spent hours research­ing the back­ground of the area of West Sound where the prop­er­ty is locat­ed. “The con­nec­tion to the Turtle­back Moun­tain Pre­serve was obvi­ous, and both the Land Bank and Preser­va­tion Trust con­firmed that they have long con­sid­ered it of high­est pri­or­i­ty for land con­ser­va­tion,” Good­fel­low said. “But after research­ing the his­to­ry of the prop­er­ty, I came to see that it was also an impor­tant part of the ances­tral home­land of the Lum­mi peo­ple. After talk­ing this through with the Land Bank, Preser­va­tion Trust, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Lum­mi Nation, we found a path­way to meet everyone’s objec­tives.”

The entire 42-acre prop­er­ty will be pro­tect­ed from devel­op­ment, in per­pe­tu­ity, by con­ser­va­tion ease­ments held by the San Juan Preser­va­tion Trust. The cul­tur­al­ly impor­tant six-acre part of the prop­er­ty, includ­ing Hai­da Point itself, will be owned and man­aged by the Lum­mi Nation as pri­vate prop­er­ty (and will remain closed to the pub­lic), while the 36-acre upland por­tion will be added onto Turtle­back Moun­tain Pre­serve, which the Land Bank owns and manages.

Good­fel­low has a his­to­ry of phil­an­thropic lead­er­ship in pro­tect­ing and expand­ing Turtle­back Moun­tain Pre­serve. He helped kick-start the orig­i­nal $18.5 mil­lion Cam­paign for Turtle­back in 2006, donat­ing a $1 mil­lion lead gift that launched a tor­rent of grass­roots sup­port. He was also a major con­trib­u­tor to the Preser­va­tion Trust’s 2012 acqui­si­tion of Turtle­neck, the prop­er­ty that con­nects Turtle­back with Turtle­head Pre­serve, and he has been a long­time advo­cate for land stew­ard­ship in the islands. “Land acqui­si­tion is just the first step,” Good­fel­low said. “Stew­ard­ship is hard­er because it nev­er ends. It’s now on all of us to sup­port the con­ser­va­tion orga­ni­za­tions that will be car­ing for these beau­ti­ful places for gen­er­a­tions to come.”

The 42+/- acres acquired, con­veyed, and pro­tect­ed today cre­ate a per­ma­nent wildlife cor­ri­dor that reach­es from ridgetop to ocean shore­line and tide­lands. Altogether,there is now a total of approx­i­mate­ly 2,275 con­tigu­ous acres of pro­tect­ed lands and a nat­ur­al cor­ri­dor stretch­ing between Lover’s Cove on the north­west coast of Orcas Island to West Sound on the south side.

The new­ly pro­tect­ed con­ser­va­tion val­ues include rare sea­side juniper and brit­tle prick­ly-pear cac­tus, Gar­ry oak trees and asso­ci­at­ed coastal prairie habi­tat, pock­et beach­es that are in a Tier I pro­tec­tion area for for­age-fish spawn­ing habi­tat (a crit­i­cal com­po­nent of salmon recov­ery and a foun­da­tion of the marine food web), the only known pop­u­la­tion of west­ern fence lizards in San Juan Coun­ty, and abun­dant habi­tat for many species of birds, bats and oth­er mam­mals, fish, rep­tiles, and marine invertebrates.

I am hon­ored to be a part of this his­toric and incred­i­bly sig­nif­i­cant con­ser­va­tion project,” said Angela Ander­son, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the non­prof­it San Juan Preser­va­tion Trust. “The com­bi­na­tion of pro­tect­ing the land’s remark­able con­ser­va­tion val­ues and beau­ty, along with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work with the Lum­mi Nation in restor­ing a sacred cul­tur­al site to its right­ful own­ers, will always be a high­light of my career and per­son­al expe­ri­ence. And it’s all thanks to Mal­colm Good­fel­low, who has earned a place among the most gen­er­ous and far-sight­ed sup­port­ers of island con­ser­va­tion in the Preser­va­tion Trust’s 41-year his­to­ry.”

It is remark­able to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to make sig­nif­i­cant con­ser­va­tion gains even now, with so much uncer­tain­ty sur­round­ing us,” said Lin­coln Bor­mann, Direc­tor of the San Juan Coun­ty Land Bank. “We are deeply grate­ful to the donor and sell­er for remain­ing stead­fast in their com­mit­ment to pre­serv­ing the char­ac­ter and beau­ty of this place we call home.”

In addi­tion, the Preser­va­tion Trust and Land Bank val­ue the part­ner­ship they have estab­lished with the Lum­mi Nation on preser­va­tion of land. Chair­man Lawrence Solomon expressed his wish to acknowl­edge a con­tin­ued part­ner­ship with the Preser­va­tion Trust in preser­va­tion efforts. “The return of our orig­i­nal home­land has deep cul­tur­al, his­toric and spir­i­tu­al sig­nif­i­cance to us,” Chair­man Solomon said. “I want to acknowl­edge the many peo­ple who worked togeth­er with our team to make this hap­pen, includ­ing Preser­va­tion Trust staff and board mem­bers, our friend Kevin Ranker, and of course the gen­eros­i­ty of Mal­colm Good­fel­low.” The Chair­man added his respect for the sell­er who pur­chased this par­cel and pre­served it in its nat­ur­al state: “Hy’shqe.”

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Categories: Environment, Nature

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