Land Trust celebrates 30 years

While a celebration will be held Saturday, Aug. 16 at Camp Casey in Coupeville to reflect on the Whidbey Camano Land Trust’s first 30 years of existence, the real focus will be on the future.

The land trust is gearing its 30th anniversary celebration toward future generations with an “Explore and Play” theme, centering on the value of protecting resources for outdoor enjoyment.

The event is 2-5:30 p.m. and will feature a salmon barbecue, live music, hands-on activities, local history storytelling and a variety of tours and walks, including trips to an old-growth forest, Fort Casey and Crockett Lake.

The keynote speaker will be Martin LeBlanc of the Children and Nature Network, whose message focuses on the importance of children connecting with nature.

Tickets are $10 for individuals or $25 for a family of three or more. Although the deadline for preregistration has passed, for more information, call 360-222-3310, email or visit the website at

“Yes, we’re celebrating 30 years, but our big focus is looking at the next 30 years and what do we want those next 30 years to look like,” said Janelle Castro, outreach and communications manager for the land trust.

The Whidbey Camano Land Trust has worked with property owners to acquire and protect scenic and rural land on the islands from development.

The land trust’s mission is to preserve a quality of life unique to the islands for future generations.

As part of the anniversary event, visitors will be able to tour the nearby old-growth forest at the Admiralty Inlet preserve protected by the land trust in 2013 through member donations and grant funding.

Pat Powell, executive director of the land trust, said they are currently working with Seattle Pacific University to acquire its property along Crockett Lake.

She said she envisions a bright future in continued land protection on Whidbey and Camano.

“We are busier than we possibly ever could be,” she said. “There are a lot more opportunities for protection, a lot more landowners who are really eager. There are a lot of big projects on the horizon.”

Powell said the land trust will be focusing on providing more immediate, relevant outdoor opportunities for island residents based on their interests in an effort to reduce travel. Creating more trails will be a focus to accommodate such activities as mountain biking or horseback riding.

“Just making nature closer to people and available to them and still protecting wildlife and habitat,” she said. “We’re never going to do skateboard parks. It’s still going to be nature-oriented.

“We’re trying to be more relevant in North Whidbey, Oak Harbor and Camano Island. We’re striving to be more innovative and adaptive to what people want in their communities.”

Powell said she’s seen membership in the land trust increase from around 50 when she started in 2003 to more than 1,000 today.


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