The opening of a new Trillium Community Forest trailhead and parking lot was celebrated with a ribbon cutting on Saturday.
Cutting the ribbon was Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson. Two young women, Mackenzie Simmons and Lacy Williams, were also recognized. Simmons and Williams were part of South Whidbey Centaur horse club back in 2010 and raised more than $6,000 to save an acre of the forest.
Also in attendance were, Sally Garrett, the former president of the Whidbey Island Backcountry Horsemen, Nancy Young, president of the Washington State Backcountry Horsemen, Wendy Tyner, board member of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, Bob Kramer, Sharon Hummel Kramer, representing one of the more than 1500 donors to the 2010 “Save the Forest” campaign and Jerry Lloyd.
The event was hosted by the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, which manages a majority of the forest. Donations from the community, as well as efforts by the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, saved Trillium Community Forest from being foreclosed in 2010.
The land trust, members of the community and representatives of Island County later developed a public use plan that prioritized the acquiring of additional trailhead access so that horse trailers, buses and disabled people could access the property.
With grants from the state recreation and conservation office and the land and water conservation fund administered by the National Park Service, the land trust assisted Island County in buying a property near Bounty Loop to provide ADA (American Disabilities Act) access. The Waterman family also donated land as part of a property sale for the trailhead land.
The forest now spans 722 acres with 48 acres owned by Island County and the rest managed by the land trust.