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Land Trust, family, assure ‘forever wild’ on Camano Island

Whidbey Camano Land Trust is making more progress conserving special spaces for future generations.

Thirty-one acres on Camano Island adjacent to Cama Beach State Park will remain wild forever, thanks to a conservation easement recently donated to the Whidbey Camano Land Trust by Joe and Cathy Holton and their family.

The Holtons, who have four children and a number of grandchildren, have owned the property since the 1990s.

“Together, our family weighed the development potential with the conservation values and the three generations of conservationists in our family decided to donate the 31 acre conservation easement to the Whidbey Camano Land Trust,” Joe Holton said in a news release.

“The decision was unanimous. We didn’t want to see a high density development there. We wanted to leave a legacy into the future — for our family and the community.”

The Holtons’ property was desirable for residential development because of its location, sweeping views, and high-density residential zoning. The property borders the south boundary of Cama Beach State Park. A county trail that connects the two state parks on Camano Island runs along the east side of the Holtons’ property.

“I have known Joe and Cathy for years and have found them to be wonderful people and great volunteers,” said Jeff Wheeler, Cama Beach Area Manager for Washington State Parks,

“The citizens of Camano Island continue to amaze me. Through the thoughtful actions of people like Cathy and Joe, this island is a great place for people and the environment to co-exist.”

The “forever wild” conservation easement donated to the Whidbey Camano Land Trust by the Holton family ensures the perpetual protection of their land on Camano Island which includes a 10-acre forested wetland that remains wet throughout the year and a peat bog with areas of open water.

The wetlands are home to a multitude of birds and animals including frogs, ducks and herons along with dozens of native plants such as willow, alder, rose, salmonberry and cattails.

The wetlands are populated by foraging birds, including harriers, eagles, and hawks. The property provides a path for wildlife to move between 433-acre Cama Beach State Park and 134-acre Camano Island State Park.

“The Whidbey Camano Land Trust is a wonderful, capable organization,” said Holton. “They got our conservation easement done despite all the transactions they were working on at the end of the year. We were pleased to work with them.”

The Holton easement was one of 15 properties protected by the Land Trust in 2012, with 11 of those transactions occurring in December.

Properties permanently protected in 2012 include working farmland in Ebey’s Reserve where the lands remain privately-owned and managed, pristine coastal bluff and mature forest at Indian Point on southwest Whidbey, and wetlands at Crockett Lake.

The Land Trust also worked with the Port of Coupeville and Island County to place a conservation easement on Greenbank Farm, ensuring forever the public’s ability to continue to enjoy that popular and historic destination.

For more information, visit www.wclt.org or call 360-222-3310.

 

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