Land Trust seeks easement on Keystone Preserve

Island County commissioners are consideringfunding from this year’s Conservation Futures Program.

Island County commissioners are considering a modest request for funding from this year’s cycle of the Conservation Futures Program.

Conservation Futures is a land preservation program that protects, preserves, maintains, improves, restores and limits the future use of threatened areas of open space, timberlands, wetlands, habitat areas, culturally significant sites and farmland within the county.

The Whidbey Camano Land Trust is requesting a $10,000 grant for the acquisition of an easement to the 216-acre Keystone Preserve property along Admiralty Inlet on Central Whidbey. The land trust plans to build an ADA trail and educational pavilion for people of all abilities to enjoy the preserve.

“Public access will be limited to low-impact recreational uses to minimize negative impacts to the habitat values while allowing the community to engage with these natural spaces,” the project description states.

The Land Trust purchased the scenic Keystone Preserve in Central Whidbey for $9.1 million in April 2022. The nonprofit announced in February that the property, the largest in the Land Trust’s 40-year history, was completely paid off, which paves the way for the group’s plans for the forest and farm.

The approval of the new request would open the door for the project to receive more Conservation Futures funds in the future. Two possible sites for the trail have been identified. The goal is to begin construction on the ADA trail in late 2025 or early 2026.

The Land Trust will provide the commissioners with a presentation on this project during a future regular session.