Submitted by San Juan Preservation Trust
Two of most enduring and consequential nonprofit organizations in the San Juan Islands — Friends of the San Juans and the San Juan Preservation Trust — were both founded in 1979. They were established independently of each other by different people, yet they both emerged in response to the same trends that were unfolding in the San Juan Islands.
In the mid-1970s, neither San Juan County nor the state had sufficient resources to address the urgent need for land preservation and land-use planning. Friends of the San Juans’ first major effort was to help the county adopt its first Comprehensive Land-Use Plan. Today, Friends’ scientific and legal expertise, as well as its advocacy on behalf of the natural environment, continue to help inform the county’s current comprehensive plan update.
Friends’ mission requires a team effort. Its staff of policy experts, scientists, educators and an attorney, are leveraged by a strong team of consultants, interns, volunteers and a dedicated board of directors.
San Juan Preservation Trust founders and early supporters in the late 1970s embarked on a distinctly different path to island protection. They wanted to find ways for private property owners to preserve their land voluntarily, independent of government regulations.
It was 40 years ago and remains today, a pioneering organization at the forefront of private land conservation in the United States.
The preservation trust also engages its members and the wider public with events, outings and publications designed to deepen and expand awareness of the need for, and benefits of, land conservation in the islands.
Although the preservation trust and Friends of the San Juans have different missions and approaches to fulfilling them, they’re both fundamentally committed to “protecting what you love” in our islands. To this end, they have combined forces on several occasions.
Friends of the San Juans is organizing special anniversary gatherings this fall throughout the islands to celebrate 40 years of protecting and restoring the San Juan Islands and Salish Sea for people and nature. Visit https://sanjuans.org/ for more information.
The San Juan Preservation Trust is celebrating its 40th anniversary throughout the year as it introduces its new mission and strategic plan, which elevate the importance of reaching out to our communities to “connect people to nature, to each other and to the Preservation Trust.” Visit https://sjpt.org/ for more information.