Submitted byt the San Juan Preservation Trust
The San Juan Preservation Trust announced on Aug. 14, the public launch of a fundraising campaign to ensure permanent protection of a newly expanded nature preserve in Beaverton Valley, on the outskirts of Friday Harbor.
The $1.2-million campaign will provide funds to assist the San Juan County Land Bank with its acquisition of a 325-acre parcel in the heart of Beaverton Valley. The newly acquired property lies between, and connects, two existing Beaverton Marsh preserves, one owned by the land bank, the other by the preservation trust.
The expanded natural area spans more than 500 acres of high-functioning wetland and upland forest between Roche Harbor Road and Beaverton Valley Road. Its establishment will forever protect cherished scenic views, the largest freshwater wetlands complex in the county and opportunities to restore and improve wildlife habitat and bird-viewing areas.
“I am so delighted with this news of preserving so much of Beaverton Valley,” said Gretchen Lambert, a long-time researcher at the University of Washington Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories. “For many decades I have enjoyed driving or biking past this beautiful wetland and have been thankful that much of it has probably been too wet to develop. Nevertheless, there has always been the possibility that it might be drained, and also that the surrounding upland would be developed. Now it will be preserved forever.”
The newly acquired property had long been a high priority for protection for both the Preservation Trust and the County Land Bank. The opportunity to purchase it arose when a San Juan Island family saw the large “For Sale” by Beaverton Valley Road and stepped up with a lead gift of $750,000.
The land bank, a public agency of San Juan County, and the preservation trust, a private nonprofit land trust, quickly engaged in the project. The land bank committed $1 million towards the $2.6 million acquisition cost, and the preservation trust committed to purchase a conservation easement from the land bank for $850,000, creating a dual-layer of permanent protection.
The preservation trust is conducting the “Campaign for Beaverton Valley Preserve” with a $1.2 million goal to purchase the conservation easement and establish a stewardship fund to care for the preserve. Leadership gifts from private donors, including a $500,000 challenge grant from an anonymous donor, have propelled the campaign into this final, public phase.
There is now approximately $125,000 left to raise, and cordially invite members of the community to show their support by helping us meet this goal. Every gift received between now and May 1, 2020 (the deadline for the challenge grant) will be matched dollar for dollar. Those who donate $150 or more will receive a Beaverton Campaign cap, embroidered with the campaign mascot, a northern pintail duck.
For more information about the campaign for Beaverton Valley Preserve or to donate, visit sjpt.org/Beaverton