The San Juan County Land Bank purchased 10 acres from Bruce Clark in December 2007 adjacent to its existing Cady Mountain Preserve.
The Clark acquisition has added a shady fern-filled ravine and a fringe of Garry Oak woodland to the Preserve’s existing Garry Oak savanna, mature forest and open meadows. “Perhaps more importantly,” said Land Steward Eliza Habegger, “it takes the Land Bank one step closer to its goal of a primitive, public trail that could one day lead from the county road to the mountain’s top.”
Land Bank efforts to protect forest land on Cady Mountain began in 2002 with the purchase of 40 acres. The effort continued in 2005 when an acquisition from the Department of Natural Resources kept an additional 80 acres in public hands. With the new purchase the preserve now consists of 130 acres and features outstanding views.
The Land Bank has worked in recent years with the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program to restore Garry Oak habitat on the Cady Mountain Preserve. The area was identified in the 1975 study of San Juan County Natural Areas as being of the highest priority for conservation due to its oak stands. Eliza Habegger was assisted on the project by Thom Pence, a Land Bank Commissioner and retired forester with a lifelong dedication to conservation.
The preserve also features various plants, including the wildflower Jeffrey’s shooting-star. While the preserve is not currently open to the public, photos of the view, the forest and the flowers can be seen on the Land Bank’s web site www.co.san-juan.wa.us/land_bank .
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