The San Juan Preservation Trust, the non-profit land conservation group in the San Juan Islands, traditionally steers clear of political campaigns. With our private, market-based approach to protecting special places, the Preservation Trust’s constituency attracts people from every political persuasion. We understand that much of our appeal and our membership support are strengthened by standing apart from our County’s often-contentious political processes.
Despite this, the 20-member Board of the Preservation Trust, representing a cross-section of islands and political perspectives, has unanimously agreed to endorse the renewal of the San Juan County Land Bank.
These two organizations are often confused. Both strategically protect landscapes that are particularly valuable to our communities, but the distinction is as simple as the difference between public and private. The San Juan County Land Bank is a unique public agency that is authorized by our citizens to collect a 1% excise tax (from buyers in real estate transactions) to protect open space in San Juan County. The San Juan Preservation Trust, on the other hand, is a private organization that relies completely on private donations of land, conservation easements and money to protect important land.
While both organizations have successfully completed a long list of remarkable projects on their own, a powerful synergy emerges when they come together in partnership. By blending public and private resources, we leverage our respective strengths to acquire special places that we couldn’t dream of saving on our own. Beloved – and expensive – places like Turtleback Mountain (Orcas), Watmough Bight (Lopez), Beaverton Marsh and the Sundstrom Farm (San Juan), Disney Mountain (Waldron), and the Henry Island Isthmus, to name just a few, have been permanently conserved by this partnership.
We all feel lucky to live in the San Juans. But our ability to bequeath the beauty, health and character of these islands to future generations would be profoundly diminished should we let the San Juan County Land Bank slip away from us. The board and staff of the San Juan Preservation Trust ask you to vote “YES” on November 8 to RENEW OUR LAND BANK!
www.RenewOurLand Bank.org to learn more.
President of the Board of Trustees, The San Juan Preservation Trust