The Land Trust has installed signs and gates, created a trail map for the property and begun recruiting volunteers to help care for the forest, said Elizabeth Guss, development director for the Land Trust.
In January, the Land Trust plans to conduct on-site tours led by knowledgeable volunteers with expertise in wildlife and forest ecology.
The schedule also calls for an advisory committee to begin developing a management plan to guide Island County's stewardship of the property.
The committee includes Helen Price Johnson, Island County commissioner; Bill Oakes, Island County parks and public works director; Lenny Corin, a Land Trust board member who worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 30 years; Steve Shapiro, local businessman and owner of Island Athletics; Steve Ellis, president of Whidbey Audubon; and Robin Clark, program manager for Whidbey Watershed Stewards.
Jessica Larson, stewardship associate, and Pat Powell, executive director, will represent the Land Trust on the committee.
In early February, the Land Trust plans to post on its website more details to help the public stay informed, become involved and share ideas, Guss said.
More than 1,400 donations and the work of many volunteers made possible the effort to protect the 664-acre woods, Guss said.
To make the purchase possible, the Land Trust ended up having to take out a low-interest loan that must be paid off by 2014.
After the debt is retired, Island County will accept title to the property and the Land Trust will hold a conservation easement on the forest.
The conservation easement ensures that the property is never developed, wildlife habitat is protected and the public can enjoy nonmotorized recreational activities.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com.
For more information about the forest, go to www.wclt.org.
To volunteer, contact Jessica Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-222-3310.
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