Stand for the Land began with the acquisition of a spectacular parcel adjacent to the Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve.
In 2018, the Land Trust publicly announced the acquisition of 14.17 acres of the Peters Tree Farm adjacent to the Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve, in collaboration with a multi-generational family represented by Alison Peters Jablonko.
The Land Trust has worked with sisters Olemara Peters and Allison Jablonko on their family’s land for more than 25 years. In fact, many of our projects involve legacy lands like this one—property that has been in a family for generations.
The Jablonko Preserve consists of undeveloped forest land. It is a portion of holdings that the Peters/Jablonko families have owned since 1951 (originally 110 acres). To get to the Preserve, visitors will walk through the 49-acre Peters Tree Farm preserve, purchased in 2004 and part of the Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve.
The Land Trust has purchased this land to own – we will hold, steward and manage it. We have made our first payment on the property, and have about four more years to pay it off through a seller-financed agreement. Fundraising for the preserve includes not only the purchase of the land, but also the funds needed to care for and steward the land over time.
Why this property? Three key reasons.
Natural Habitat – The Jablonko Preserve’s natural systems are stable and healthy, with multi-storied forests comprised primarily of 60-80 year-old Douglas-fir and western red cedar, as well as western hemlocks, red alder, big leaf maple and madrones. The understory is diverse, with sword fern, evergreen huckleberry, salal, oceanspray, and red elderberry. Forest forbs (non-woody flowering plants) such as vanilla leaf, foam flower, violets, and pathfinder are common along the trails. Nearly every shrub species here produces edible fruits or seeds, providing both food and cover for local wildlife including raccoons, Douglas squirrels, deer, hairy and pileated woodpeckers, and a variety of other critters and birds.
Wildlife Networks – the Land Trust has a strategic focus on creating or further expanding connections between preserved lands. We purchased this particular 14-acre portion of the Jablonko/Peters Tree Farm property because it is contiguous to already protected lands and trail networks, and had the highest risk of development due to ease of access and intense growth pressure from nearby, rapidly expanding Lynwood Center.
Aquifer Recharge – At one location on the preserve sandy soils are visible on both sides of the trail. While most of the Island’s soil is Vashon-till that doesn’t allow water to sink through readily, the Esperance sand on this property allow water to seep down at a steady rate. Groundwater forms a perched aquifer here, and preservation of intact forest protects the important aquifer recharge functions these sandy soils provide.
The Jablonko Preserve represents an outstanding launch for our multi-property Stand for the Land campaign.