This site is no longer updated, but you can read all about the project’s history. For current information on the Trillium Community Forest, please go to www.wclt.org.  Thank you for your support on this project!

Thank You Trillium Supporters!

Trillium Celebration on October 24 at M-Bar-C Ranch

On Sunday, October 24 more than 200 people joined the Land Trust at its celebration marking the saving of the Trillium property. People browsed the panel displays that highlighted the 7 month campaign. Despite the chilly weather, hot coffee, great desserts, and strawberry lemonade sweetened the afternoon. Music by LocoMotion, the Shifty Sailors, and Pushkara Ashford warmed our spirits.

“I’m sure you all recognize and appreciate that forests survive on rain and that they are tested and strengthened by the winds, ” said Land Trust Board President Tom Cahill in his welcoming comments. Outside the arena, the rain fell and the gusts flew by, but inside, all who attended cheered and congratulated each other for the perseverance and creativity that raised the money to purchase the Trillium property. Now, it’s saved for wildlife and current and future generations. Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson and Land Trust Development Director Elizabeth Guss continued Tom’s sentiments, thanking everyone for the over-the top-top support that went into the campaign and recognized those whose support came in the forms of donations, in-kind gifts, endorsements, partnerships, and moral support. Executive Director Pat Powell talked about the Land Trust’s other active projects and encouraged people to support the Land Trust’s work into the future, including stewardship of the Trillium property. The Land Trust also thanks all of its guests who brought food donations, we left the ranch with three barrels of food for our local food banks.

When you’re in the area, stop by the Land Trust office in Greenbank to see the display (pictured above).

Let’s celebrate!

“To achieve the incredible, we must attempt the impossible.”

Together, we achieved the incredible by protecting a square mile of land, setting aside a home for wildlife, and saving a special place to cherish.

Now let’s celebrate our achievement!

When Sunday, October 24, from 2-4 p.m.
Where The M-Bar-C Ranch
5264 Shore Meadow Road
Freeland, WA 98249
Bring A dessert to share or a food bank donation.

The deal is done! The Trillium forest is saved.

Smiling as the deed was recorded, Pat Powell, executive director of the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, completed the transaction to purchase the 664-acre Trillium forest on central Whidbey Island. More than 1485 individual donations made the purchase possible. A soldier overseas contributed $5.00. An anonymous donor concerned with the survival of wildlife habitat came forward with a very significant gift that allowed the Land Trust to purchase the property. In between were 1483 other named donations.

“It seemed impossible in March and yet it happened,” says Pat Powell. “Hundreds of people took a stand to save wildlife habitat, open space, and a place for people to be out in nature. With their dollars and their effort, they voted this a high priority. The impossible dream came true in September. Our hearts are brimming with gratitude.”

Powell emphasized that the property will never be developed and can only be used for protecting natural habitats and providing appropriate non-motorized recreational activities, such as hiking, bicycling and horseback riding.  The Land Trust will own the property for about a year, enough time to develop the site management plan and the conservation easement, the legally binding agreement that will confirm protection of the land, limiting the way it can be used. Then, the Land Trust will transfer it to Island County.

The Land Trust is securing the property by installing gates and signs at appropriate locations.  Partnering with Island County, the Land Trust will soon assemble an advisory committee to develop a long-term site management plan. Simultaneously, the Land Trust will also develop a team of volunteers to help oversee and care for the forest.

“We expect to open the property officially to the public in the spring of 2011”, said Cheryl Lowe of the Land Trust.  “Careful stewardship of a property of this size requires time. We want to do it right. We’re still gratefully accepting monetary donations and offers of stewardship that will help us care for the forest,” Lowe added.

“It is a powerful testimony to the values of our community,” commented County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson. “The County will take over ownership of this property in the next year. However the community still must play a significant role. Our agreement with WCLT is that there will be a maintenance fund of $50,000 and a cadre of volunteers to care for this property in the years ahead. The many people who supported this effort now can continue their commitment by volunteering time and/or financial support toward the Trillium woods for the ongoing stewardship of this unique natural open space. I am confident that our amazing community will step up to this challenge and provide the resources necessary for this valuable public asset.”

The Trillium property has been owned by timber companies and by land developers. To celebrate the property’s rebirth as a community forest, it needs a new name. To offer a possible name, download a form from www.wclt.org/rename.pdf or come to the Whidbey Camano Land Trust office in Barn C at the Greenbank Farm (765 Wonn Road in Greenbank). Submit the form by November 15. A selected panel will choose from among the names submitted to the Land Trust

Whidbey Camano Land Trust prepares
to close on the Trillium property

The legal documents are ready, the money is in an escrow account, and closing on the Trillium property is scheduled for next week.

“I saw a quote yesterday that fits today,” says Whidbey Camano Land Trust (WCLT) board member Joanie Boose. “‘To achieve the incredible, we must attempt the impossible.’ That’s what we did. What a community, what a team!”

More than 1,400 donations and the efforts of scores of people brought the permanent protection of the Trillium property within reach.

“It’s over the top,” says Elizabeth Guss, WCLT director of outreach and development. “But if this was going to happen anywhere, it was going to happen here. This is the Whidbey culture—community rallying to protect a treasure.”

To make closing possible, the Land Trust took out a low-interest loan that must be repaid within the next four years. After the debt is retired, Island County will accept title to the 664-acre property and the Land Trust will hold a conservation easement (a legally-binding, permanent agreement). The conservation easement will ensure that the property is never developed, wildlife habitat is protected, the public can enjoy non-motorized recreational activities, and current and future generations will continue to experience the joys of nature.

The fundraising goal for the Trillium project included the money needed to acquire, protect, and steward the land. Some of those funds are for Island County’s stewardship and some will enable the Land Trust to develop a management plan and a conservation easement. 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, signs, and other items.

“This is a lifetime commitment,” says Guss. “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, so it is still gratefully accepting donations and encouraging donors to make muti-year pledges.

Trillium fundraising nears goal

We’ve been processing donations all weekend and are happy to report that we are now within $200,000 of the purchase price of the Trillium Woods! We are still accepting donations to buy and steward the land and still have a donor who is willing to match a $100,000 donation.

Thank you for your continued support!

Trillium campaign reaches fundraising deadline

September 10 was the fundraising deadline for Trillium, but close of escrow isn’t scheduled until September 22. There’s a bit more time, and we still have a donor who is willing to match dollar-for-dollar a gift of $100,000 before escrow closes.

How much does the Land Trust still need to reach its goal? On the morning of September 10, we had $350,000 left to raise. Since then, donations have been rolling in steadily. We’ll have a better idea of how close we’ve come to our goal early next week.

What if you don’t raise enough? We’re very close now. If necessary, we’ll explore alternate funding resources to bridge the gap.

Does that mean you don’t need more donations? No, just the opposite. We need you to keep giving. Your continued donations may make it unnecessary for us to take out a loan—or enable us to repay one if we do.

Thank you for all you’ve done to bring a goal that seemed impossible within reach! This forest will be treasured for generations.

Trillium in the news

It’s been a busy week in the media. Here’s some of the TV, print, and radio coverage we’ve received:

Another fundraiser!

Elliott Menashe has led two very popular tours in the Trillium Woods and is offering a no-charge site visit, evaluation, and verbal report to anyone with property on Whidbey Island who donates $300 or more between September 5 and close of escrow. Services include pre-purchase property evaluation, hazard tree assessment, bluff assessment, and shore management, forestry management, wetland assessment, and other services listed at www.greenbeltconsulting.com. Site visits can be scheduled at the donators’ convenience for up to one year after September 10, 2010.

Major donations bring the Trillium forest within reach

The finish line is drawing near. The 664-acre Trillium forest on Whidbey Island is about to be permanently protected. The Whidbey Camano Land Trust is in serious discussion with an anonymous donor for a substantial gift. If the outcome is positive, there’s just $900,000 left to raise by September 10, and $300,000 of that has already been promised.

To help raise the remaining $600,000, an existing donor has made a pledge to match, dollar for dollar, the first person to donate $100,000 between now and September 10. After the Land Trust raises $600,000, a second anonymous donor will contribute the remaining $300,000 needed to complete the campaign.

“It’s really gratifying to know that we are so close to protecting Trillium–a remarkable achievement,” says Tom Cahill, president of the Land Trust’s board of directors. “But, we still need the help of everyone to make permanent protection a reality.”

The Land Trust has received more than 1,000 donations from individuals and groups on Whidbey Island, other parts of Washington State, other states, and even other countries. Some donations have come from people who have never set foot on Whidbey Island.

“People love nature, and what’s better than protecting more than a square mile of forest, wetlands, and wildlife habitat on an island in the Puget Sound?” says Pat Powell, executive director. “Those donating to this project care about clean air and clean water, and they know that children and adults need wild places to enjoy. They want to be sure that native wildlife have a home–places to forage for food, raise young, and provide refuge. We appreciate every gift to the Trillium project.”

Author Ann Linnea thanks “acre savers”

In gratitude to those who have stepped up to the plate and donated $6,500 or more toward saving the Trillium Woods, WCLT member Ann Linnea is giving each donor a copy of her book Keepers of the Trees: A Guide to Re-Greening North America. The book features more than 100 photos as well as the stories of 14 “tree keepers,” people who devoted their lives to trees in one way or another. If you are an acre saver, Ann will send the book directly to you. If you aren’t an acre saver, it’s not too late to become one!

Fundraisers benefit donors as well as the forest

Fundraisers have supported the Whidbey Camano Land Trust’s effort in healthy, delicious, practical, and even informative ways, including a yard sale, antique sale, health club memberships, a pub night, a lecture, and several dog washes. If you hosted or attended these fundraisers, please accept our heartfelt thanks.

Islanders speak out about the Trillium Woods

Robbie Cribbs and his family enjoyed a bike tour in the Trillium forest recently, and afterward, he created a short video of the experience. He recently created an encore, in which he interviewed members of the community about why saving the Trillium Woods is important to them.

In the news

We thought you might enjoy this excellent front page article about the Trillium Woods that appeared in a recent issue of the Whidbey Examiner.

Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen on Whidbey Island:

The Trillium Woods makes the front page of the Seattle Times

An article by Carly Flandro was printed in the Seattle Times on August 3. Read the article here.

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<!–[if gte vml 1]> <![endif]–><!–[if !vml]–>WCLTlogo_RGB-PPT.jpg<!–[endif]–> News Release

For immediate release
Contact: Patricia Powell, executive director
360.222.3310 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              360.222.3310      end_of_the_skype_highlighting pat@wclt.org

Trillium deadline extended

Representatives of Shoreline Bank, Coastal Community Bank, and North County Bank have agreed to give the Whidbey Camano Land Trust 90 more days to raise the funds necessary to purchase the 664-acre Trillium property northwest of Freeland. “We’re exhausted and elated,” says Land Trust executive director Pat Powell. “Exhausted because we’ve been working so hard toward this deadline and elated because the banks have given us more time.”

In the past 12 weeks, individuals have donated everything from pennies, nickels, and dimes to $100,000 checks. As of today, the Land Trust has commitments for $2.4 million from a variety of sources, leaving $1.8 million to raise by September 10. The Land Trust, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, has never raised so much money in so little time. Usually, a capital campaign this size takes a minimum of 18 months to complete. The Trust had less than four months. That makes this extension critical.

“The Land Trust’s ability to raise this much money is remarkable and a sign of momentum toward this deadline,” says Jeff Lewis, president and chief executive officer of Shoreline Bank. “But we’re under a regulatory obligation to sell non-earning assets and can’t extend this deadline any further. We have more than $4 million dollars tied up in something that’s earning nothing and is costing us every day.”

“On Saturday, I attended an event at the M-Bar-C Ranch during which the Centaurs, Knight Riders, and Whidbey Wranglers 4-H groups handed over pledges worth $6,600,” says Powell. “The effort they put into fundraising and the hope we see in their eyes makes us want to redouble our efforts at the Land Trust. All the people who haven’t contributed because they thought it couldn’t happen can go ahead and get their checkbooks out now.”