Land bank continues restoration work at Glenwood Inn property; public access set for September

Close to 60 acres on the north shore of Orcas Island are undergoing a comprehensive overhaul in preparation for public access.

The Glenwood Inn property in Eastsound was purchased in mid-2022 by the San Juan County Conservation Land Bank and the San Juan Preservation Trust.

Orcas Preserve Steward Peter Guillozet led a community meeting on June 12 to highlight the extensive work that has been done — including removing 10 derelict buildings, thousands of feet of fencing and many loads of trash — and what remains to be completed. The property is scheduled to be open to the public by late September.

The $6.35 million purchase was made possible by a 1% Real Estate Excise Tax paid by those purchasing land in San Juan County. The land bank contributed $3.35 million from REET, and the SJPT provided $3 million. The land bank owns and manages the property, renamed the North Shore Preserve, and the preservation trust holds a conversation easement.

The land bank initially estimated a total cost of around $700,000 to clean up and prepare the property, but costs thus far have been significantly lower, and the SJPT contributed around $90,000 towards demolition and other tasks.

The North Shore Preserve is located within one of the county’s highest-priority regions for salmon recovery. Its vital nearshore environment features mature forest, wetlands, 1,800 feet of shoreline and a half-acre of tidelands that support eelgrass and forage fish. Before any improvements were made, there was extensive study of the ecological, cultural and historic resources of the property.

The North Shore Preserve will be managed as a public natural area that provides low-intensity recreational access via forest and beach trails. Around 30 directional signs will help guide pedestrians and interpretative signs will pay homage to early agri-tourism and indigenous history. Roughly 20 acres will be set aside as a habitat reserve and will not be accessible to the public. The beaches to the east and west are private, and there is no overland access to Point Doughty.

The land was first developed by settlers in the 1880s. It operated as a resort for decades but had recently fallen into major disrepair. The primary residence was built in 1895 and underwent many additions. Cabins and other structures were added over time. The only artifacts found on site are a “surface scatter” of vintage bottles. Guillozet jokingly called it “historic trash.” A consultant deemed none of the buildings historically significant, and only the two-story garage will remain on the preserve.

“But we salvaged a lot of materials, which were taken to the Exchange,” Guillozet explained.

The main house was used as a training site for Orcas Fire and Rescue staff and volunteers, culminating in a live burn exercise. The foundation will be broken up, and the cement will be reused in construction of the main 11-space parking lot.

Land bank staff has planted nearly 13,000 native trees and shrubs, upgraded electrical and utility services and stabilized slopes. Pending permitting, planned work over the summer includes regrading, constructing the parking lots, building a road from the garage, establishing trails and more. The final design has been sent to contractors from the small work roster for bid submissions, which are due June 28.

To view the full restoration design plan, visit

Except during regular tours, the property remains closed to the public. Visit for a schedule of tours. Volunteers are welcome to assist with planting, pruning and more.