Green Giving received a whole new definition this month when Bainbridge Island Land Trust (BILT) secured more habitat and open space for the Island community by exercising its option to purchase two new priority properties.
West Bainbridge Shoreline Protection. In the final weeks of 2012, the Land Trust invested $250,000 towards the protection of nearly 12 acres of undeveloped shore lands on Bainbridge Island.
The shore land property, known as the West Bainbridge Shoreline Protection project, is stunning undeveloped land on the northwest shore of Bainbridge Island, just south of Agate Pass Bridge. The purchase consists of two contiguous undeveloped parcels including over 4.5 acres of tidelands, approximately 550 feet of shoreline, and over 7.50 acres of uplands. The property hosts eel grass beds, active feeder bluffs, sandy beach, riparian vegetation, mixed mature forest, upland wetlands, and two open meadows with incredible views of Agate Passage and the Olympic Mountains.
Bainbridge Island Land Trust has been working with the owners of this property for over 3 years to negotiate a purchase that would permanently protect important habitat critical for listed salmon, forage fish on which salmon depend, and a number of other aquatic and terrestrial species. Before exercising its option, the Land Trust undertook an extensive feasibility study, funded in part by a grant from the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
The Land Trust is purchasing the property for $1 million (plus interest), which reflects a substantial discount offered by the owners off the appraised value. The Land Trust is purchasing the property under a seller financed arrangement, and made its first payment of $250,000, raised solely through private donations, on December 18, 2012. The Land Trust has two more years to raise the balance of the purchase price and has submitted several grant applications, which it hopes will result in enough funding to pay off the loan. In the meantime, BILT continues to seek financial support and resources to ensure it can pay off the balance of the purchase price as well as resources to support stewardship and management of the property.
"This property hosts tremendous marine biodiversity, and has great potential as a shoreline nature preserve, connecting visitors with hiking, picnicking, scenic views, and carefully planned shoreline access," said BILT Stewardship Director Brenda Padgham. That potential is enhanced by the possibility that it may become a destination along the Washington Water Trails system and/or the regional Sound to Olympics Trail system, both currently in the planning and development stages.
For more details, please reveiw the Land Trust's data sheet on the project as well as the recent news articles.
For more information, or to arrange a tour of the property, contact: Asha Rehnberg or Brenda Padgham, Bainbridge Island Land Trust, 206-842-1216.
Addition to Hilltop. Also in mid-December, the Land Trust closed on the purchase of 5 additional acres contiguous with the southeast corner of the Hilltop addition to the Grand Forest. This transaction closed on December 13 for $300,000, a discounted price below appraised value, with $70,000 down and 5-year seller Financing. Its purchase and its ultimate redevelopment from private residential to park purposes will provide a permanent buffer for the Hilltop property as well as providing potential parking or other infrastructure for the Hilltop/Grand Forest parklands.
Hilltop was a 2011 Trust acquisition to add to and bind together the formerly disjunct Grand Forest parklands. That project has been enthusiastically supported by almost 500 private donations, foundation grants and agency contributions to date. A portion of the Hilltop property has already been conveyed to the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District, and it has, in turn, just completed the construction of a gorgeous multi-use trail across Hilltop to connect the trail systems of the East and West Grand Forest.
The Land Trust and the Park District are currently in discussions about a proposed lease of the Addition to Hilltop property together with the remainder of the original Hilltop property still owned by BILT This new acquisition is considered part of the Land Trust's ongoing Hilltop project, the capital campaign for which is still underway with approximately $653,500 yet to raise of BILT’s original $3.6 million goal. The full campaign goal must be raised in order for the Land Trust to pay off the Hilltop Note upon which it is scheduled to make payments until December 2016 and the Addition to Hilltop Note upon which it is scheduled to make payments until December 2017.
With these two new additions, the Land Trust, through the generosity and volunteerism of its many members and supporters, has now helped to protect more than 1,254 acres of Bainbridge Island for the benefit of people, wildlife and water resources – forever. We thank you all so much! And future generations will thank you too.
Follow this link to recent news articles regarding this new Hilltop addition as well as the new Hilltop trail.
Check out our new, updated map of Conserved Island Land!