In 2014, the Land Trust began work to protect 21 acres that hosts a stream and forested wetland in the Island's central core. The Carlson Conservation Easement was officially recorded in December 2015, thus adding and protecting a critical piece to over 200 acres of already protected ecologically sensitive land.
The Carlson conservation easement was graciously donated to the Land Trust by the current landowner William C. Carlson of Olympia. The Carlson property has been in family ownership since current landowner Dr. Carlson's great grandfather, Andrew Miemois Anderson, filed for homestead ownership of the property on November 10, 1883. Miemois Creek, which runs through the property to Manzanita Bay, is named to honor the family and legacy.
The decision to permanently protect the property was both to preserve a healthy ecosystem and also the heritage of the property. "In protecting this land from development, I wanted not only to protect
the forest and creek, but also to allow future generations of our family to be
able to get a sense for what the homestead was like when Andrew Miemois
Anderson arrived," says Dr. Carlson.
The easement protects over 21 acres and hosts a biologically significant fish-bearing stream, Miemois Creek, and its associated riparian habitat, forestland, and wetlands along with foraging and nesting habitats for many diverse species of native plants and wildlife.
"The Carlson property is a gem -- not only is the property a family legacy property rich with Island history -- but one that is beautiful and rich with special habitat attributes," says Brenda Padgham, Conservation Director at the Bainbridge Island Land Trust. "Working with Bill Carlson, a tree physiologist who knows his land well, to permanently protect this property, was a wonderful project. Conservation easements like this are so important to fulfilling our conservation goals on the island, and we are grateful for the generosity of Bill Carlson to voluntarily protect this property for our Island."
The Carlson Easement is the 47th donated easement since the Land Trust's inception in 1989. "The foresight and generosity of Dr. Carlson epitomizes the conservation gain that can be achieved by the
partnership of a private property owner and the Land Trust -- for the benefit of
all," says Jane Stone, Executive Director of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust.
While the private easement is not open to the public, the community can enjoy the public Forest to Sky Trail, constructed and maintained by the Bainbridge Island Metro Park and Recreation District. The trail traverses through the southern portion of the conservation easement. Visitors can access the trail, which connects the West Grand Forest and Battle Point Park, directly west of the West Grand Forest parking area on Miller Road.
Since 1989, the Land Trust has focused on building a network of conserved properties in the central part of Bainbridge Island. The Carlson Conservation Easement is an important addition to this endeavor. Increasing the number of connected acres in the Island's central core enhances its function as habitat and open space for the benefit of many plant and terrestrial and aquatic animal species, as well as the public.
In February 2016 the Land Trust hosted a work party on the property during which volunteers helped improve and maintain the conservation values by removing invasive plants while also getting a chance to tour the property. More work parties are scheduled in 2016 as part of the landowner and BILT's efforts towards managing invasive plant species. To participate on property work parties, contact Becca Nissley, Becca@bi-landtrust.org.
Conservation easements are permanent agreements voluntarily entered into by landowners who desire to preserve ecological and conservation attributes of their property. The landowner retains ownership of the land. BILT accepts easements that meet organizational and conservation goals. Many hours of landowner, staff and volunteer time goes into drafting conservation easement agreements and documenting the natural attribues of a property in what is referred to as a baseline document. In addition, volunteer and in-kind support for the restoration and long-term stewardship of the property will be provided by the landowner, Land Trust donors, volunteers, and the landowner and family.
All photos by Paul Brians. Having trouble viewing the slideshow? Click here.