In late 2015, the Land Bank and the non-profit San Juan Preservation Trust purchased Zylstra Lake, a 285-acre tract in San Juan Valley. Long coveted because of its importance to the False Bay watershed, expansive fields and proximity to existing conserved farmlands, the organizations made a big leap of faith, closing with $2.7 million still owed to the seller.
The work began to secure grant funding, both from the federal and state government sources for the purposes of conserving the wildlife and riparian areas and to provide a recreational opportunity to the County’s residents. The partnership was successful on both counts and paid off the debt a year early in 2017. As with Mount Grant Preserve on San Juan Island and Turtleback Mountain Preserve on Orcas Island, Zylstra will be owned and managed by the Land Bank, and the Preservation Trust will hold a conservation easement on it. Look for upcoming events as we begin our process to map out how the property will be managed both for nature and people.