Land Bank seeks input on Lopez Spit Preserve plan
June 17, 2008 · Updated 4:02 PM
The San Juan County Land Bank has drafted a Stewardship and Management Plan for its Fisherman Bay Spit Preserve. The Land Bank felt it had to act quickly because it feels the Spit Preserve is a fragile area that will be seeing an increase in usage, even as soon as this summer. We feel we need a management plan in place, said Lopez resident and Land Bank Commissioner Tom Cowan.
Its ( the Spit Preserve) very fragile and has a lot of environmentally sensitive features, Cowan added.
The Stewardship Plan for the property focuses on several areas, but mainly on public access and education. One of the public access features of the property is the dock.
The dock is an important part of the property, said Cowan. However, the Land Bank has no past experience managing a dock. It hopes to strike a deal in which the Port of Lopez would lease the dock, as well as repair and maintain it. The dock, which is now in a state of disrepair, is the only public dock in Fisherman Bay, said Cowan.
The other major part of the Spit Preserve management plan would create defined trails on which visitors could walk without negatively impacting the environment. Other plans include educational kiosks explaining the unique environmental areas which lie on the property.
The 29-acre parcel was purchased in two pieces, one in September 2002 and the other in December of that year. It lies at the entrance of Fisherman Bay, directly west of Lopez Village. When the property became available for purchase, the Land Bank made a unanimous decision to purchase the Spit despite its price tag of more than $3 million.
In fact, the Fisherman Bay Spit Preserve is the single most expensive piece of property the Land Bank has purchased in San Juan County. And it may be the most unique with its shoreline, beaches, intertidal areas, salt marshes and dunes backed by forests.
Despite spending all of its acquisition funds for Lopez through 2014, the Land Bank decided to purchase the Spit Preserve for three reasons: to enable public access to a property considered by many as an integral part of Lopezs landscape; to protect the fragile habitat on the shoreline and other areas; and to preserve the historical and cultural resources located on the property.
However, the Land Bank is looking at locating state funding sources and coming up with fundraising efforts to raise money for future purchases. We fully expect to continue purchasing land, said Cowan.
The public is invited to comment on the Fisherman Bay Spit Preserve Monday, March 15, at 7 p.m. at the senior center.