Can we save the Lost Continent?
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We have 2 ambitious deadlines:
1. $769,340 by August 5, 2015 to purchase 25.5 acres.
2. $1,718,000 by October 4, 2015 to successfully purchase all 36.2 acres.
If we successfully purchase the 25.5 acres, the owner will contribute an additional $150,000 towards the purchase of the remaining land.
We have applied for a $300k grant from the local C. Keith Birkenfeld Memorial Trust, which is critical for our goals.
The Illahee Forest Preserve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and donations are tax deductible.
We have a unique opportunity to save and preserve some of the most sensitive natural features in one of the most populated areas in the county. The target of the campaign is the 36 acre Timbers Edge (TE) development adjacent to the Illahee Preserve and Illahee Creek.
Brief Timbers Edge History.
The planned development, consisting of mostly small lots (40’ by 90’), was fought by the community (opposed by more than 700 residents), but approved by the Hearing Examiner. A bankruptcy ensued several years later, with the new owner planning to either sell or develop the property.
The 36 acre property consists mainly of forested plateau and sloped riparian areas that abut Illahee Creek. On the east end of the property is the site of the four acre Avery Homestead. The map (click to enlarge) shows how critical the property is to the Illahee Preserve, the watershed, wildlife corridors, and proposed trails between the Preserve, Puget Sound, and Illahee State Park.
An agreement was eventually reached by all parties whereby the IFP will plan to purchase either 25 acres of the most sensitive areas abutting Illahee Creek for $767K, or the entire 36 acres for $1.7M. In both cases the owner would provide a substantial contribution towards the purchase, making these more attainable.
The acquisition directly supports the Preserve’s mission statement which includes: “To establish and develop a premiere nature preserve and park … [and] To preserve to the greatest extent possible the natural character of Illahee forest lands and the Illahee Creek watershed..”
The acquisition will secure key forest and watershed properties necessary to maintain the continuity of riparian properties along Illahee Creek. The acquisition reduces or eliminates the blockage of wildlife corridors and a dense development bordering these sensitive areas. It will provide connectivity to the south with other Preserve properties and to the east with two other targeted Illahee Creek riparian properties. Both directions are potential routes for a regional trail system to improve community enjoyment of these natural areas.
The acquisition would also protect a critical aquifer recharge area. Hydrologic and USGS studies of the area have shown water infiltration in the Illahee watershed is necessary to support ground water extraction for human use and also to ensure base flows to support salmonids in Illahee Creek.
Double Your Contribution!
This acquisition would be an enormous benefit to the future of the Preserve as it would serve as a match for other grants, such as the required 50% match needed to apply for RCO grants. In other words, the funds raised to purchase this property can potentially be doubled through a state matching grant to purchase the remaining properties targeted to complete the Preserve!
- It helps complete the Preserve by connecting critical targeted forest and riparian habitats.
- It helps maintain the groundwater recharge of the critical Manette aquifer (already impacted).
- It lessens further storm water impacts to Illahee Creek, the Illahee Road culvert, and Puget Sound.
- It insures base flows in Illahee Creek affecting salmon species are not further degraded.
- It is a recommendation of the 2008 DOE/Port funded Watershed Management Plan (#Pur-1).
- It avoids a pressurized sewer main running through Illahee with major cost impacts to residents (either the 25 or 36 acre purchase avoids this).
- It eliminates or reduces the small lots and a major traffic concern for residents who live along Fir Drive.
What If Funding Is Not Raised?
The stipulation for accepting the purchase offer is that if funding is not secured for the 25 acre purchase, the approved 87 lot development will move forward, with major adverse impacts identified by the community. If funding is secured only to purchase the 25 acres, a limited 43 lot development will move forward, but with no major impacts anticipated by the community. The Illahee Community Club and the IFP boards have agreed to support the developments if the funds are not raised for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
A donor recognition wall is being planned at the Illahee Preserve’s Almira entrance for gifts of $1,000 or more.
PLEASE DONATE TODAY! Your support of this critical and time sensitive campaign is greatly appreciated!!!