Bainbridge Island Land Trust Awarded State Grant to Help Protect Rockaway Bluff Preserve
One of the last remaining intact mature forests of its size on the Island, Rockaway Bluff Preserve will continue to provide a sanctuary for wildlife Bainbridge Island.
Bainbridge Island Land Trust was awarded a grant of $1,374,552 from the State’s Recreation and Conservation Office’s Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) for the acquisition and stewardship of Rockaway Bluff Preserve. WWRP seeks to acquire valuable habitat lands across Washington State before they are lost to other uses. The Land Trust will use this grant to offset the acquisition cost of the property, the development of a long-term stewardship plan, invasive species control, and signage.
When the 35-acre parcel of mature intact forest became available in 2020, the Land Trust saw the unique opportunity. Together with the community and supporters, they worked with steadfast determination to develop a plan to acquire the property and establish the Rockaway Bluff Preserve. The Land Trust recently acquired an additional 10 acres adjacent to the Preserve, bringing the intact, protected lands to 45 acres.
Within the Preserve, grand fir, Douglas-fir, and bigleaf maple tower over a dense and diverse understory that includes salal, huckleberry, and ferns. The lush vegetation provides food and habitat for a variety of bird species, including eagles, ospreys, and seabirds, as well as mammals such as deer and coyotes. Rockaway Bluff also connects with a network of wetlands, streams, and forests already conserved in nearby Blakely Harbor Park, IslandWood, Pritchard Park, and the Cougar Creek Preserve. These ecological features make Rockaway Bluff Preserve a valuable resource for wildlife and humans, contributing to a network of climate-resilient lands on Bainbridge Island.
Later this year, the Land Trust plans to open Rockaway Bluff Preserve to low-impact public use. This past week, visitors had a unique opportunity to attend an Open House at the Preserve. Visitors were invited to take a guided tour of the trail, learn about the history and ecological significance of the site, and participate in educational activities. The event was a huge success, with over 100 people in attendance.
“Rockaway Bluff Preserve is a treasure for our community,” said Cullen Brady, Executive Director of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust. “This state grant award further underscores this Preserve’s vital importance for ecological values that remain to be protected on the Island.”
The Bainbridge Island Land Trust is dedicated to conserving Rockaway Bluff Preserve and other important ecosystems on Bainbridge Island for future generations. For more information about Rockaway Bluff Preserve and to learn about upcoming events, please visit the Bainbridge Island Land Trust website at bi-landtrust.org.