News & Events

Project Update: Quimper Wildlife Corridor Challenge


Author: Jefferson Land Trust | 04/27/22
       

Logo of newt with the words Quimper Wildlife Corridor

Since 1992, Jefferson Land Trust has been working with partners and the community to protect one small parcel after another to build a ribbon of green that preserves the wetlands, wildlife, and popular trails of the Quimper Peninsula.

Trail winding through dense rainforest and shrubbery.

Cappy’s Trails in Quimper West, a popular spot for visits to the corridor.

In early 2021, we launched the Quimper Wildlife Corridor Challenge: an ambitious plan to protect up to 160 priority acres in the Quimper Wildlife Corridor and ensure that this precious resource remains available to future generations of local wildlife and people forever.

Since then, we’ve permanently protected 12 properties, totaling nearly 30 acres. We’re set to close on five additional properties (2.5 acres) this spring, and have also initiated appraisals on five more key properties.

Prior to the Challenge, 138 acres had been permanently protected in the corridor over a nearly 30-year period. The additional 30 acres represents an almost 22 percent increase in protected land in just one year. An amazing achievement!

Closeup of rough-skinned newt on dirt trail.

Humans share Cappy’s Trails with wildlife, like this rough-skinned newt in Quimper West.

We’ve also begun working with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to determine the purchase price for 107 acres of corridor forestland that DNR owns, which is currently leased by Jefferson County. Over the next year, the county and the Land Trust will work together to forever protect these 107 acres.

The community’s response to the Quimper Wildlife Corridor Challenge illustrates the importance of this special place. We’re very grateful to have received more than 415 individual and foundation donations totaling more than $1.64 million (94 percent of our original goal), and the gifts continue to roll in.

“We’re making incredible progress week after week,” says Blaise Sullivan, the Land Trust’s Conservation and Stewardship Coordinator. “We’re working with many landowners who are enthusiastic about the habitat values of their land, and with passionate donors who share our vision for a permanently protected corridor for wildlife and our human community.”

Spring sunlight filtering through rhododendron leaves beside a bend in Cappy's Trails in the Quimper Wildlife Corridor.

Spring sunlight filtering through rhododendron leaves beside a bend in Cappy’s Trails in the Quimper Wildlife Corridor.

One of the Land Trust’s recently acquired properties is (at 2.5 acres) a comparatively large parcel of significant ecological value. Located along the corridor’s 100-year floodplain, adjacent to Winona Wetland and bordered by other lands permanently protected by the Land Trust and the City of Port Townsend, this special property has been on the Land Trust’s radar since the 1990s, when our efforts to protect the corridor were first getting underway. Its protection completes yet another important link in the interconnected chain of parcels that comprise the corridor.

The priority parcels we’ve acquired or are working to acquire are those that buffer the 100-year floodplain and associated wetlands, or those that buffer Cappy’s Trails, which are beloved by hikers, bikers, birdwatchers, dog-walkers, and nature lovers from near and far. In fact, our preserve staff members have begun tracking visits to one of the trails in the corridor and estimate that this trail alone gets at least 14,000 visits each year!

The ever-increasing pressures of development in Jefferson County put us in a race against time to protect the remaining vulnerable properties in the corridor. And pricing increases mean the fair-market appraised values of the properties in the Quimper Wildlife Corridor are coming in at nearly double the value they were assessed for in 2020, adding to our funding challenge.

Horsetails growing in the Quimper Wildlife Corridor.

Horsetails growing in the Quimper Wildlife Corridor.

To address this, we’re redoubling our efforts to secure additional funding from state and county grants as well as private foundations, and individual gifts are also gratefully welcomed. We’re also thankful to the Clif Family Foundation, the James D. Scheinfeld Family Foundation, the Norcliffe Foundation and the Cross Charitable Foundation for their support. Though the clock is ticking, we’re buoyed by the incredible amount of local support for this project.

“We know how much our community wants to see this area protected,” said Blaise. “So as we face these challenges, we’re grateful that we can continue to rely on the support of our friends, neighbors, and partners to protect this special place.”

We look forward to sharing more milestones as we continue working to acquire key parcels and raise funds to ensure that the clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and natural abundance of the corridor remain to enrich and support our community for all time.

If you have not yet contributed, please consider joining us by making your gift to the Quimper Wildlife Corridor Challenge today!