Our trusty Bainbridge Island Land Trust (BILT) has done it again. Yes, as a year-end gift to us all, especially our salmon, just last week they exercised an option to purchase a new priority shoreline property. As a fitting end to an outstanding year for conservation on the Island, BILT invested $250,000 toward the protection of nearly 12 acres of pristine undeveloped lands on the northwest end of the Island, making this their second shoreline conservation purchase in 2012.
The property, known as the West Bainbridge Shoreline Protection project, is a stunning undeveloped area just south of Agate Pass Bridge. The purchase consists of two contiguous undeveloped parcels, including over 4.5 acres of tidelands, approximately 550 feet of shoreline, and over 7.5 acres of uplands. The property hosts eel grass beds, active feeder bluffs, sandy beach, riparian vegetation, mixed mature forest, upland wetlands, and two open meadows with stellar views of Agate Passage and the Olympic Mountains.
BILT’s purchase of this land will permanently protect habitat critical for listed salmon, forage fish on which salmon depend, and a number of other aquatic and terrestrial species. Before exercising its option, BILT undertook an extensive feasibility study, funded in part by a grant from the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
BILT is purchasing the property for $1 million (plus interest), a substantial discount offered by the owners off the appraised value. The Land Trust is purchasing the property under a seller financed arrangement, and made its first payment of $250,000, raised solely through private donations, on December 18, 2012. BILT has two more years to raise the balance of the purchase price and has submitted several grant applications that it hopes will result in enough funding to pay off the loan. In the meantime, BILT continues to seek financial support and resources to ensure it can pay off the balance of the purchase price as well as resources to support stewardship and management of the property.
“This property hosts tremendous marine biodiversity, and has great potential as a shoreline nature preserve, connecting visitors with hiking, picnicking, scenic views, and carefully planned shoreline access,” said BILT Stewardship Director Brenda Padgham. That potential is enhanced by the possibility that it may become a destination along the Washington Water Trails system and/or the regional Sound to Olympics Trail system, both currently in the planning and development stages.
For more information, or to arrange a tour of the property, contact Asha Rehnberg or Brenda Padgham at BILT: 206-842-1216 or 206 724-1478 (Brenda’s cell). Want to donate? Contact the Bainbridge Island Land Trust.
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Photos courtesy of Brenda Padgham; map courtesy of BILT.