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Help Save the Entrance to Samish Island

In the early 1900’s, the 38-acre property now known as the Samish Flower Farm, was the first place that tulips were grown for production in Skagit County. Now, mature fir and cedar trees hosting eagles and herons have replaced the tulips. Skagit Land Trust (the Trust) is working with the community to purchase and conserve 34.7 acres of the Samish Flower Farm, also known locally as the Stewart property. This large forested property, which borders Roney and Samish Island Roads and Padilla Bay, contains some of the Island’s oldest trees. Some trees are over 130 years old. Generations of Islanders and visitors have traveled through the stunning green canopy and felt a sense of place and history. It is the beloved “front door” of the Island, welcoming all with its beautiful natural character.

The Samish Flower Farm has been in the same family for over 100 years. The family reluctantly put the property on the market last year but recently decided they want to work with Skagit Land Trust. This is a $1. 24 million project. The Trust is seeking grants and using its own funds for a signifcant amount of the cost. However, we need to raise at least $300,000 in donations from the community to ensure that we have the funds to purchase and preserve this expansive forest and beach that make up the entrance to Samish Island.



What Will Happen If Funds Are Not Raised:

Samish Flower Farm has seen increased interest from developers and others who would likely log the upper portions of the property and subdivide the land . The property is zoned such that it could be cleared and subdivided into 7-10 individual lots. Skagit Land Trust has secured an agreement with the owners, allowing us until October 2018 to raise $1,243,000 to purchase and manage the property. If Skagit Land Trust does not have funds raised, Samish Flower Farm will go back on the market in the fall of 2018. However with stong community involvment, it may now become an extraordinary gift to current and future generations of people and wildlife.

Together, we can make this happen.

Figure 1: Corner of Roney Road and Samish Island Road today. Samish Flower farm lies on both sides of the road Figure 2: Rendition of what corner of Roney Road and Samish Island Rd could look like with cleared lots for sale Figure 3: Property for sale outlined in yellow. Red outline shows portion of property retained by family. Hashed area shows second lot. Light green is an existing Trust conservation easement on private property.

The property has ecological qualities that are increasingly rare in Puget Sound. It provides spectacular wildlife habitat, including a stretch of beach and nearshore wetlands that are adjacent to the Padilla Bay Marine Estuary Reserve. At more than 8,000 acres, Padilla Bay is the second largest eelgrass meadow on North America's Pacific Coast. It is critical habitat for species from herring to Brandt geese to juvenile salmon, which resident Orca pods depend on . The property is almost adjacent to private Conservation Easements held by Skagit Land Trust, and a large privately managed forest. Samish Flower Farm provides nesting, roosting, perching, and foraging habitat for a variety of raptors such as the Bald Eagle, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, and owls, as well as migratory song birds. It is used as a staging and feeding area for herons that nest nearby.

A local committee, including Samish Island residents Thais and Howard Armstrong, Mike and Liz Bart, John and Kristen Boyes, Fonda Downs, Roger and Kris Goodan, Mark Hitchcock, Steve and Gail Hopley, Chuck Howell and Charlene Day, Lisa McShane, Therese Ogle, Marnie Pennington, and Jim Zielinski have joined with Skagit Land Trust board members Rusty Kuntze and Jim Glackin to assist the Trust in raising funds and pubic awareness to protect the land.

This property will be managed as a Skagit Land Trust Conservation Area. After the property is acquired, the Trust will take a year to get to know the property; reach out to neighbors, community members, and potential partners; and develop a management plan. This plan will work to protect wildlife habitat and incorporate low impact public access. There are many opportunities to knit together trails and wildlife viewing areas on the property, while respecting neighbors’ privacy. The Trust has multiple properties with public access that include nature trails, wildlife viewing areas, interpretive signs, small parking areas, and bike racks. (Check out the link on our website called Lands We Protect). The property’s wildlife values are exceptional. Areas needed by herons and other nesting birds will be protected from competing uses. The Trust will consider how to ensure the property’s mature forest, wetlands and hydrology stay intact or are enhanced. On Trust-owned properties, volunteer land stewards act as docents and community members assist with stewardship.

We are close to making the preservation of this historic, iconic and ecologically important place a reality, but we need your help. Your donation of up to $2000 to the Samish Flower Farm Campaign will be matched dollar for dollar by a challenge match from several families on the Island . Please join us in saving this special place for generations of people and wildlife.

Donations can be made online or by calling 360-428-7878. Please note in the comments that your donation is for the Samish Flower Farm.

Throughout the next few months the Trust will lead tours of the beach portion of the property. Please see below to rsvp for a tour.

September Tour Dates

September 8th 10:30am

September 22nd 10:30am

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