The History of the Ted Olson Preserve starts in 1973 when Theodore Olson donated a large parcel of land to the Bainbridge Island Metro Park and Recreation District. He believed that it was important to conserve land on Bainbridge Island and was committed to preserving this 10-acre property. In the spirit of his vision, over thirty years later, a new initiative began to acquire an adjacent 5-acre parcel, which would extend the Ted Olson Preserve further east. What is truly special about this initiative is how it came to pass, since it was genuinely a project driven by the community. Inspired by Ted Olson’s vision, Islanders asked the City’s Open Space Commission to buy the 5-acre parcel. Local citizens, neighbors, and the City of Bainbridge Island with the support of the Park District’s Board of Commissioners worked together with the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, to fund the 5-acre Ted Olson addition through private donations and the City’s Open Space Bond Levy funds. The Land Trust placed a perpetual conservation easement on the 5-acre parcel. The property was then transferred to the Park District.
This 15-acre preserve stands as a monument to the tremendous resolve and power of Islanders working together with the Land Trust, the Park District, and the City in influencing the development of our community’s natural and preserved areas.
This exciting opportunity helped expand the current Ted Olson Nature Preserve – a beloved public space featuring towering conifers as well as mature wetland features. With nearly two acres of mixed alder and conifer forest and a native plant understory featuring salmonberry, salal, fern, skunk cabbage, and more, these additional acres protect portions of a larger wetland complex and build upon an existing wildlife network in the vicinity. Additionally, these acres serve as a buffer to the Ted Olson conservation easement and trail network.