Stand for the Land!

Bainbridge Island Land Trust Launches Stand for the Land: Ambitious capital campaign sets goal of securing at least $5M by late 2019.

Bainbridge Island, WA – May 4, 2018 – Forests, wetlands, shorelines and meadows are threatened, and the Bainbridge Island Land Trust is stepping forward with a bold, multi-year campaign to protect as many treasured natural places and as much critical habitat as possible before it’s too late. Stand for the Land, the most ambitious land conservation campaign in the Land Trust’s history, has a goal of securing at least five new properties and significantly adding to the 1,345 acres already successfully protected by the Land Trust and its partners. Each of these properties is a special place and each one tells part of the Island’s history.

The campaign’s first property is the 14.17-acre Jablonko parcel. This property is part of the historic Peters Tree Farm and adjacent to the Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve. The Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve was originally established in 1995 and has been expanded in multiple phases resulting in over 480 currently preserved acres. Since the recent purchase of the Jablonko property, more than 100 people have enjoyed guided tours of this woodland property with Land Trust docents.

This spring, the Land Trust is launching its campaign by announcing the purchase of a second property from long-time Islanders Kathy and Daryle Schei. This 15.35-acre parcel will be known as Cougar Creek and is located at the corner of Old Mill Road and Blakely Avenue. This property has a broad diversity of habitats including a pond, stream and wetlands, plus forested areas with some of the largest cedar trees on the Island.

Kathy and Daryle Schei have owned and cared for this property for 30 years. “We are delighted to have reached an agreement with the Bainbridge Island Land Trust to transfer both ownership and stewardship of this property to them. It gives us great pleasure to be in a position to support the Land Trust and the greater Island community in this way.”

The Land Trust’s executive director, Jane Stone, emphasized that the two purchases underscore that the Island can and must conserve treasured lands to “keep pace” as development pressures continue. “These acquisitions demonstrate that protecting natural Bainbridge Island will remain a key element of who we are and what we care about as a community,” she said. Stone also noted that the purchase of the Hilltop property and three other additions to the Grand Forest during the past five years show that the Island is expanding public access, protecting natural resources, and stewarding wildlife habitat even as its population grows.

The Land Trust is using its science-based Conservation Plan, shaped through community feedback, to identify protection priorities and subsequent campaign target properties. These include shorelines, as well as wildlife networks that expand connections among currently protected lands.

Land acquisitions such as those made possible through Stand for the Land are just one element of the Land Trust’s work. It also works one-on-one with local landowners to place conservation easements on private property to protect habitat and ensure ongoing environmental stewardship of that land forever. The Land Trust holds 41 such conservation easements on private land, as well as six additional public conservation easements. More than half of these protected acres are open to the public.

The Bainbridge Island Land Trust is a local 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 1989 with the mission to preserve and steward the diverse natural environment of Bainbridge Island for the enjoyment and benefit of everyone forever.

Learn more about Stand for the Land and sign up for a tour today. The Stand for the Land campaign is chaired by long-time Islanders Zan Merriman and David Harrison.