As Washington continues to grow, many of our most beautiful areas are threatened with development. In addition, native ecosystems are receding, and important wildlife habitat and migratory pathways are being cut off. The Natural Areas category helps combat this by funding projects that protect wildlife habitat and rare geological features while also preserving public access for back-country recreation.
This proposal is for acquisition of 786 acres of high priority private waterfront properties on Cypress Island threatened with conversion to incompatible and/or ecologically irreversible uses. Cypress Island is a unique natural area due to its size, ecological diversity and level of existing protection. Cypress Island is extremely large for an island and has no infrastructure or ferry service and limited development which increases protection. 88% of the island is already owned and managed by DNR under NAP or NRCA designation. Securing additional funding is critical in order to actively pursue acquisition of these remaining undeveloped lands. The threat of conversion is high due to rising property values in the San Juan Islands, and the attractiveness of Cypress for vacation homes.