Land Bank purchases 100-plus acreage conservation easement in Lopez’s center valley
The San Juan County Land Bank has purchased a more than 100-acrea conservation easement. The property, owned by Gary and M.R. Buffum, lies between Fisherman Bay and Dill Roads at the entrance to Lopez’s center valley. The transaction was made in partnership with the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office.
“We’re pleased to be successful in protecting a property with such agricultural and historical significance,” said Land Bank Commissioner Nancy Greene. “It has been a priority for us to protect farmland on Lopez since the Land Bank’s inception in 1990. This property is really important given its location.”
The easement prohibits development on agricultural fields, but will allow farming to continue.
“People have farmed this land for more than 140 years,” stated Land Bank Director Lincoln Bormann. “The easement helps keep that tradition alive.” The property was originally homesteaded by Joseph Burt in 1871 and Otto Kjargaard owned and ran the farm from 1944 to 2006.
“We know Otto would be really happy that the farm won’t be developed,” said M.R. Buffum. “It was a big part of his life.”
The acquisition was made possible because the Land Bank successfully secured a grant for $300,000 from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program’s farmland preservation account. The Land Bank has used funding partners to make up for revenues that have fallen dramatically in the last several years.
“We’ve been lucky to find other funding and great partners in these times,” Bormann said.
For more info on the Land Bank, call 378-4402 or email www.sjclandbank.org.
For more info on the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office visit www.rco.wa.gov/index.asp.