The Land Trust acquired the beautiful Hilltop property with strong community support during one of our largest campaigns ever. Hilltop connects the East and West segments of the Grand Forest resulting in nearly 540 contiguous protected acres through the center of the island. The Land Trust has worked to improve the property’s condition by removing debris and invasive plants, bringing the orchard back to life, and improving overall site conditions with the help of BIMPRD, many volunteers, and other community partners. We’ve also been learning about the property and the species it supports through site assessments and surveys, including our 2016 BioBlitz. We have catalogued over 216 species who call Hilltop home and rely on the diversity of the woods, forest fringe and meadow habitats that Hilltop hosts.
Why this property?
The unique 5-acre Hilltop meadow is the crown jewel of the Grand Forest system, providing forest fringe habitat so critical to many birds and other species, while offering sweeping views of the Olympics from one of the island’s highest points. The entire property straddles the Fletcher Bay and Murden Cove Watersheds, protecting wetlands and streams that eventually enter Puget Sound on both sides of the Island.
“The Land Trust recognizes Hilltop not only as important habitat connected to the Grand Forest, but also as an important public gathering place. On any given day, visit Hilltop and you will see not only great wildlife, but families, trail runners, horseback riders, and educational groups using the property—reasons why so many people in the community helped us with their generous support,” shares Jane Stone, the Land Trust’s executive director.
Since acquiring the property, the Land Trust has worked towards the goal of having BIMPRD ultimately own all the parcels while helping care for this land in a way that reflects why we purchased it. Upon transfer of the last parcel – the meadow parcel (B) – nearly 23 acres will be preserved forever by a protective conservation easement held by the Land Trust. The conservation easement helps make certain that Hilltop retains its conservation values, while balancing the property’s use as a park, and ensures the long-term partnership between the Land Trust and BIMPRD continues.
- Foraging & nesting habitat