Glenwood Inn property permanently preserved

Submitted by the San Juan Count Conservation Land Bank.

The San Juan County Conservation Land Bank and the San Juan Preservation Trust jointly announced that their bid to acquire the former Glenwood Inn property for permanent conservation has now concluded successfully. The County Land Bank has assumed ownership of the 58-acre shoreline parcel, which is located near the northwest tip of Orcas Island, and will manage it for eventual public access.

To assist in financing the $6.3 million acquisition (plus transaction costs), the Preservation Trust will raise funds to purchase a conservation easement from the county, thereby creating a dual layer of protection for the property’s considerable conservation values. These include mixed-forest uplands and more than 1,800 feet of natural shoreline with prime nearshore habitat for juvenile salmon and forage fish, such as Pacific sand lance and herring, that are critical to salmon recovery.

A few facts about this exciting project:

● Glenwood Inn is one of the few large shoreline properties on Orcas to come on the market in recent decades.

● While Orcas is the largest island in the San Juan Islands archipelago, it has the lowest percentage (12%) of publicly accessible shoreline of any of the ferry-served islands.

● The property is in one of the highest priority regions in the San Juan Islands for salmon recovery.

● Please note that public access will not be immediate. As managers of the property, the Land Bank will go through a public process to establish a management plan, initially for an Interim Period.

● Planning, permitting, and project implementation are expected to take two to three years. Once all major work identified for the Interim Period is complete, the portion(s) of the property deemed appropriate for public access will be opened.

● During the Interim Period, the property will be closed to public access. However, regularly guided tours will be provided for members of the public. Closure is necessary to ensure public safety and to enable work to proceed efficiently.

This multimillion-dollar project is a huge endeavor. To pull it off, the Conservation Land Bank and the Preservation Trust have joined forces, funds, and each other’s complementary strengths, just as they have with many other beloved nature preserves throughout the islands, such as Turtleback Mountain Preserve and Coffelt Farm on Orcas Island, Mount Grant and Zylstra Lake Preserves on San Juan Island, and Watmough Bight on Lopez Island.

Now that the Glenwood transaction has closed, the Land Bank’s Interim planning process will begin, and the Preservation Trust will start fundraising for this project in earnest. If you would like to join this effort, please make a donation online by typing sjpt.org/glenwood in your Web browser.

For tour dates, a planning timeline and project updates, check the San Juan County Conservation Land Bank’s website at sjclandbank.org and the San Juan Preservation Trust’s website at sjpt.org.