SLT, Guemes Community Partner

SLT, Guemes Community Partner

Three visionary leaders and 31 Charter Members founded the Skagit Land Trust (SLT) in 1992. Their mission is to conserve wildlife habitat, agricultural and forest lands, scenic open space, wetlands, and shorelines for the benefit of our community and as a legacy for future generations. The staff, many active volunteers, and over 1,700 family and business members work to protect the most important and beloved places in Skagit County.

 

In 2007, 70 acres in private ownership atop Guemes Mountain were put up for sale. Guemes community leaders rallied island residents and conservation organizations for the Save the Mountain campaign. In 2009, the money was raised and the property was purchased by the SLT. Including the surrounding conservation easement held by the San Juan Preservation Trust, 580 acres of private and public land is now protected on Guemes Mountain.

 

In 2015, with continued support from generous families, individuals, and foundations, the SLT’s Guemes Forever campaign reached its fundraising goal for the purchase of an additional 9.5 acres adjacent to the Guemes Mountain property. Raised funds also go toward outreach to Guemes landowners who own properties with high conservation value.

 

The Guemes Forever campaign’s efforts continue toward the final goal of funding stewardship needs and trail work on the SLT’s protected land on our island.

 

In 2018, more than 425 families, organizations, and businesses donated funds that made possible SLT’s purchase of 27 acres and 3,000 feet of shoreline that comprise the Kelly’s Point Conservation Area. This treasured beach and wildlife area is now protected for all to enjoy.

 

These achievements are a testament to our community’s love of place and what can be accomplished when we work together as partners toward a common goal.

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GICCA Stage Project Update, Oct ’19

GICCA Stage Project Update, Oct '19

Drilling holes in back beam, Back beam in place, Finding the balance point

 

The seven 33 ft long logs that will be used for the purlins (front to back roof supports) are now at the site and in the process of being peeled and dressed. These logs replaced others that were unusable. Transporting these logs from Conway to Guemes was a community effort with many thanks to Bob Porter for his help.

 

Through Jep Burdock’s friendship with Dan Rankin, the mayor of Darrington, WA, we acquired two massive milled beams to be used for the back horizontal support beam. These also replaced a log at the site that was unusable. These milled beams were cut from a tree on Dan Rankin’s mother’s property in Darrington. She was a community activist and Dan was proud to see this wood go to a worthwhile community project.

 

Sandy and Kathy McKean donated additional logs for the eight perimeter vertical columns and for the two middle columns in the back. We replaced the latter with straighter logs that better accommodated the overhead beam. These logs are also being peeled and dressed.

 

Under Jep’s direction using his timber framing skills, Tom Fouts, Rick Norrie, and John Strathman assembled the Darrington beams according to the plan specifications. Forks were cut in the tops of the four back vertical columns. It took some “delicate” chainsaw work and Tom’s skilled maneuvering with the boom truck, but the back beam is now in place.

 

The next steps include fitting the front horizontal “showcase” log for placement on the two front vertical columns and construction of the wing walls that will enclose three sides of the stage performance area.

 

Many thanks to our dedicated core team who have given countless hours of their time and donated equipment, fuel, and ferry fees. Their wives also deserve a huge thank you as this project has taken Tom, Rick, and John away from many projects at home.

Fiesta de los Amigos Fundraising Dinner, Nov 9

Fiesta de los Amigos Fundraising Dinner, Nov 9

GIST (Guemes Immigrant Support Team) is a group of Guemes volunteers that formed around the idea of continuing island support for immigrants in our area. GIST has joined with the Guemes Church for a fundraising dinner, FIESTA DE LOS AMIGOS, with the goal of raising $2000. Proceeds will be divided between four existing organizations actively assisting immigrants in Skagit County. We hope to give each of these remarkable tax-deductible groups $500. All four can be easily found online.

 

• Red Group. The first $500 would go to this student outreach and support group under the umbrella of Skagit Valley College. Some, but not all, of the young people involved are DACA. Red Group also sponsors a Community Information Fair, The iDream Conference.

• IRIS (Immigrant Resources & Immediate Support) supports 2 to 5 immigrant families at a time with very basic needs that include school costs. IRIS is all volunteer with no overhead costs. Some of their families seek asylum, some are homeless, some are single parents, and all are in great need.

• SIRC (Skagit Immigrant Rights Council) provides basic legal information to immigrants. Donations to SIRC go to student scholarships and low-cost loans to immigrants seeking citizenship. These loans reduce the financial hardship of the application fees, which can be considerable. SIRC is all volunteer with no overhead costs.

• Tri-Parish Food Bank is located near St Charles Catholic Church in Mount Vernon and has a large and varied immigrant clientele. It is not a recipient of the successful local “Red Bag” program. Tri-Parish buys appropriately and in bulk, has a communal garden, and benefits from a very dedicated long-term staff. They serve all comers. Tri-Parish’s overhead costs are estimated at 20%.

 

On the evening of Nov. 9, there will be a brief informational program of personal stories provided by two remarkable young immigrant (Mixtec) women, Guillermina Bazante and Marta Martinez Olivera. There will be time for questions. These two women do not represent any of the four groups above but, as community activists, they seek to better the conditions for all local immigrants.

 

Sock drive for fieldworkers who badly need good, new wool socks (Merino/Smartwool/Wigwam at Amazon or REI), size 9-11.  Please bring what you can.

 

$5 tickets for a $100 Gift Certificate to COA Mexican Eatery.

 

Cash donations will be accepted at the door or with a check made out to the Guemes Island Community Church with “Immigrant Support” written on the memo line. Donations are tax-deductible. You do not have to attend to donate. Checks may also be mailed to The Guemes Island Community Church, 7611 Guemes Island Rd, Anacortes, WA 98221.

 

For more info contact, Infoimmigrantralph@gmail.com

Guemes Community Day Summary by Regina Wandler, Skagit Land Trust Stewardship Manager

Guemes Community Day Summary by Regina Wandler, Skagit Land Trust Stewardship Manager

Thank you to all who participated in Skagit Land Trust’s Guemes Community Day on Saturday, 10/12!

 

We are happy to talk to community members interested in supporting Trust activities on Guemes. Please let us know if you are interested in helping with stewardship of our conservation areas, or in serving on a Guemes Community Group to help organize events and facilitate Skagit Land Trust’s continuing work on Guemes Island. If you are interested in helping out, please email us at info@skagitlandtrust.org – we’d love to hear from you!

 

I had a lot of fun at our work party (focused on pulling invasive Etruscan honeysuckle) and heard that folks enjoyed the walks along the shoreline at Kelly’s Point and up to the top of Guemes Mountain.

 

At the community meeting, we gave a quick overview of the new Kelly’s Point Management Plan and of the updated Guemes Mountain and Valley Management Plan. The Trust prioritizes the protection of important conservation values on those properties. We protect a wide array of ecosystems across both properties, including maturing forest, freshwater wetlands, and marine shoreline, as well as the beautiful and diverse balds on top of Guemes Mountain. We noted the importance of preserving vital ecological processes like aquifer recharge and feeder bluff functioning. We will continue to develop public access in ways that protect the conservation values present on both properties. We also look forward to supporting sustainable agricultural use of Guemes Valley into the future.

 

We also discussed some issues of concern to the larger Guemes community. We know that community access up Muriel Lane was a hot topic earlier this year. After the issue was flagged for us, we looked through legal surveys and access records for the area and did not find any information that guaranteed public access up Square Harbor or Muriel Lanes, which are both private roads. While this is disappointing for some community members, the Trust is very happy that the trail ensures that the mountaintop remains accessible. The flooding on Edens Road also caused a hubbub. Flooding may have been caused by beaver dams that are located on several private properties. As far as we know, none of the dams are on Trust owned property. Skagit County has been working on identifying a long term solution for this issue, and we are supporting them as opportunities arise.

 

At Kelly’s Point, we are working through the County permitting process to fill the potholes, expand parking, and install signage and a bike rack. We have heard concerns from several community members about the risk associated with hiking along the bottom of Yellow Bluff. To warn visitors, we have currently posted a simple sign at the stairway to the beach informing visitors of the potential for bluff slumping, and we plan on including more information about risks posed by the bluff on permanent signage that will be installed near the parking area.

 

Last but not least, we let those at the meeting know that we still need your help! We are happy to talk to community members interested in supporting Trust activities on Guemes. Please let us know if you are interested in helping with stewardship of our conservation areas, or in serving on a Guemes Community Group to help organize events and facilitate Skagit Land Trust’s continuing work on Guemes Island. If you are interested in helping out, please email us at info@skagitlandtrust.org – we’d love to hear from you!

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