Marrowstone Island Preserve


Locator Map Indicating Fite Property

This map shows the location of the future preserve on Marrowstone Island.

A Rare Opportunity for the Community

A large undeveloped parcel on Marrowstone Island and adjacent waterfront property came on the market in early 2018. Thanks to a groundswell of community support, Jefferson Land Trust was able to raise the funds necessary to purchase these properties in order to create a community nature preserve. Located next to Twin Vista Ranch and Sound View Cemetery,  the preserve will feature a pedestrian walking trail through a lush forest, outdoor education space, and excellent wildlife habitat.

The property was purchased by the Land Trust on October 31, 2018. Over the next few months, Land Trust staff will be assessing the property, and developing a management plan. Community input will guide the initial steps of trail building and other amenities to prepare for a formal public opening in Spring 2019. Volunteer work parties to help ready the property for public use will take place during this period.

Upcoming Project Milestones:

  • October 31, 2018: Property purchase – COMPLETED!
  • Late November 2018 – January 2019: Community survey and neighbor meetings to help inform priorities for ecological, educational and recreational opportunities
  • Early 2019: Volunteer opportunities to participate in developing public access and recreational amenities
  • Spring 2019: Ribbon cutting ceremony and public opening of the new preserve!

Interested in Volunteering?

Fill out the form below and hit the Submit button. We’ll add you to our email list and keep you informed about opportunities to volunteer at the new Marrowstone Island preserve!

Frequently Asked Questions

When can the public begin accessing the preserve?

The Land Trust purchased the property on October 31, 2018. Land Trust staff will need a few months to assess the property, develop a management plan, and begin to put recreational infrastructure in place before officially opening the preserve for community use. As this occurs, we will schedule volunteer work parties and other opportunities to get involved and on the land!

What’s the status of the fundraising campaign?

Thanks to the enthusiastic and generous support of more than 250 community members, the funding goal of $210,000 was achieved on October 4th.  Together with nearly $800,000 in funding from the Navy REPI program, we have secured the resources necessary to purchase this property, develop initial public access infrastructure, and begin to invest in the long-term stewardship of the preserve!

All contributions that are received in excess of the campaign goal will be dedicated exclusively toward the long term management of this property and its public access amenities.

What is the Navy’s role in this project?

The Navy funding was awarded through the REPI (Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration) program, a land conservation funding source provided through the Department of Defense. As a partner to this program, the Land Trust determines what lands within the REPI agreement area are priorities for protection. The Land Trust will own and manage the property. Navy funding is provided to establish a conservation easement on the property that will permanently remove subdivision and development potential. REPI funding does not grant any affirmative rights to the military for use of this property.

How can the community get involved in preserve design and management?

In late November 2018, an online survey was opened to solicit community ideas, interests, and feedback regarding land management and desired public access amenities (parking, trails, volunteer preserve stewardship roles, etc.) The survey was closed on January 13, 2019.  170 responses were received, representing a wide array of preferences and viewpoints.

Have questions that haven’t been answered here? Please contact the preserve manager, Carrie Clendaniel, at 360.379.9501 ext 109.

Aerial View of Fite Property

View of property showcases the rare Marrowstone Island mature forest in the foreground. The open space in the background is Washington State University’s 26-acre Twin Vista Ranch, which neighbors the property to the south and is protected by a Jefferson Land Trust conservation easement donated by Lisa Thayer Painter.

Preserve Benefits

Proposed Preserve Outline

The red outline above provides a rough perimeter of the proposed community preserve.

  • Island wildlife are drawn to the lush mature marine forest and wetlands.
  • More than 400 feet of bluffs nourish the shoreline and marine environment below and offer refuge and a pathway for wildlife to reach the forest.
  • As a protected preserve, the property can be used for light recreation by the community, and continue as an outdoor education site for groups like CedarRoot Folk School.
  • In combination with neighboring properties, this preserve will be part of a habitat and agricultural corridor in central Marrowstone stretching from the shoreline much of the way across the island.
  • The two wetlands on this property collect water that feeds local aquifers important to neighboring homes, farms and forests. (The area is classified as a Susceptible Aquifer Recharge Protection Area and is located in the Coastal and High Risk Saltwater Intrusion Protection Zones.)
  • Creating a community preserve on this property will ensure that Sound View Cemetery (the pioneer cemetery) remains a place of quiet solitude and serenity.

Biological Survey Report

During late July and August, a number of Marrowstone Island residents conducted a ground survey of the potential community preserve. They mapped the property, identifying five major habitat types and cataloging more than 100 species of plants and animals. You can see what they learned in their Initial Biological Survey of the property.

Property History: Honoring Marilyn Fite’s Legacy

This property has been part of the Fite family holdings on Marrowstone Island for several generations, going back to Marilyn’s great grandfather, Peter Nordby, who founded the first settlement on the island in 1892. Marilyn Fite, who passed away in 2010, was a dedicated conservationist.

During her lifetime, she modeled environmentalism at home, while also working to protect irreplaceable wildlife habitat internationally. Establishing a preserve on this property to benefit wildlife and the community honors a longtime island family and the values Marilyn personally lived by.

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