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Yes indeed, Trillium forest deal becomes official
With a swish of a pen, the effort to save Trillium Woods, the largest single owned tract of forestland left on Whidbey Island, came to an end.
On Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 29, Whidbey Camano Land Trust Executive Director Pat Powell recorded the deed and transferred the title to the 664-acre property, located off Highway 525 between Freeland and Greenbank, at the Island County Courthouse in Coupeville.
Powell could not be reached for comment, but she did express her elation in a news release that went out late Wednesday evening.
“It seemed impossible in March and yet it happened,” Powell said. “Hundreds of people took a stand to save wildlife habitat, open space, and a place for people to be out in nature. With their dollars and their effort, they voted this a high priority. The impossible dream came true in September. Our hearts are brimming with gratitude.”
It was a momentous occasion, bringing to a close an effort to preserve the property that has spanned the past three decades. The most recent was the land trust's seven-month dash to raise $4.2 million from the community to buy the forest from three Snohomish County banks.
"What this community has done is nothing short of extraordinary," said Elizabeth Guss, director of outreach and development.
Since the land trust began its effort in March, which is believed to be the largest fundraising drive in Whidbey Island's history, a total of 1,489 people contributed donations or pledges. They ranged in value from $5 to $300,000. An even larger contribution was made but conditions required by the donor mandate that both their identity and the amount remain a secret, Guss said.
While the land trust is planning to celebrate, don't get out your party hat just yet. The event, which will take place sometime this month, is a private function for those who donated or pledged funds only, Guss said.
However, everyone is invited to participate in a contest to rename Trillium Woods, which originally represented the Trillium logging company of Bellingham. Submissions will be accepted online at both savetheforestnow.org or www.wclt.org until Nov. 15, when a panel of representatives from Island County, the land trust, and the community will convene to decide on the winner.
Now that the land deal has been finalized, the land trust will begin focusing their efforts on creating a management plan to guide the property into the future. For more information or to participate, call the land trust at 360-222-3310.