By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
WHIDBEY ISLAND — The deal is almost done.
The legal documents are ready, the money is in an escrow account and closing on the Trillium Woods property is scheduled for this week, Whidbey Camano Land Trust spokeswoman Petra Martin said.
More than 1,400 donations and the work of many volunteers made possible the effort to protect the 664-acre woods, Martin said. To make closing 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, Martin said.
The $4.2 million fundraising goal for the Trillium woods project included the money needed to buy, protect and take care of the land, she said.
Some of money will go to stewardship by the county and also help the Land Trust to develop a management plan for the property.
All of these steps support the process of restoring the forest to a sustainable, healthy condition and will help the Land Trust determine appropriate uses and locations of trails, gates and signs, said Elizabeth Guss, the nonprofit organization’s director of development.
“This is a lifetime commitment,” Guss said. “It’s a choice to be responsible and protect this forest forever.”
The Land Trust needs to raise another $150,000 to repay the loan and establish a stewardship fund.
For more information about the Trillium project, go to http://savetheforestnow.org or call 360-222-3310.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com.