Skagit Land Trust logo

Conserving wildlife habitat, agricultural and forest lands, scenic open space, wetlands, and shorelines for the benefit of our community and as a legacy for future generations.

Land Trust News

News Item Image

The Miles Legacy on Samish Island

Gary Miles and his wife, Betty first met with Skagit Land Trust in 1999 to discuss leaving their 10-acre forested property on Samish Island to the Trust. Their dream was that the house would come down and the land would be a home for wildlife, forever.

“We love the wildlife”, Betty remarked during a meeting with staff. She laughed, “We started by putting out bowls of water for them and ended up digging a pond!” “We want the critters to have a place to live when we are gone,” Gary noted. “And keep those snags as so many birds and other animals use them.”

Over the years Gary and Betty worked with their lawyer and the Trust to ensure their vision and legacy was articulated and understood. They hoped that their gift and story would inspire others to protect their own forests.

Betty passed in 2019 and Gary in 2020. The property came to the Trust in July 2022 along with a stewardship bequest to manage the land. The executor, Janet Stewart, worked with the Trust to ensure a conservation covenant placed on the property’s deed captures the Miles’ wishes. The property will be managed for wildlife with occasional compatible use by Skagit Land Trust. Stay tuned for stewardship work parties and tours.

Not only is the land already a wildlife sanctuary, but it is also within the “alternative heron
nesting habitat” range for the abandoned Samish Island Heronry. Herons, bald eagles,
raptors and owls are often seen on the property’s large trees or at the pond along with
numerous other wildlife - just as Gary and Betty hoped. We are honored to be entrusted with
stewarding the Miles’ natural legacy

Related Pages