Our friends & partners made some exciting news this past week with two large acquisitions of land for conservation. If you enjoy hiking, bird watching, beach going, and knowing that important salmon habitat is being protected, then get excited!

Lyre

Where the Lyre River meets the Strait of Juan De Fuca. Photo credit: Gus Gates, WA Policy Manager

The North Olympic Land Trust recently made their largest purchase of land in the Trusts history after acquiring approximately 280 acres as part of the Lyre Property Conservation Area. The property abuts the Lyre River on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, about 20 miles west of Port Angeles. This property features an important estuary at the mouth of the Lyre River, streams, wetlands, tidelands, kelp beds and bluff-backed beaches.  It also includes a large upland area with a diverse forest at various ages of growth. “The Land Trust has been working with community partners for years to conserve this property,” said North Olympic Land Trust Board President Karen Westwood of Sequim. Planning is underway for the use of the property, the Land Trust plans to open the property to the public by mid-2015. Visitors will be able to park about a mile from the beach and walk in from there. Visitors can enjoy day-use activities such as birdwatching, wildlife viewing, surfing, picnicking, and beach walking. The area will be closed to all motor vehicles. Surfrider Olympic Peninsula Chapter members and staff recently toured the amazing property and discussed different stewardship ideas and ways to minimize human impact, everyone was very excited to help shape the plan for this special place. This property purchase is a win not only for the community, but also for the mission of the Land Trust: conservation of open spaces, local food, local resources, healthy watersheds and recreational opportunities. Long-term goals of the Land Trust are to conserve lands that sustain the ecological and economic vitality of the communities of Clallam County. Read more about the Lyre property here.

Clearwater River at Upper Clearwater Campground

The Nature Conservancy of Washington’s newly acquired property along the Clearwater River. Photo Credit © Keith Lazelle

The Nature Conservancy of Washington has just bought 2,538 acres of forest above the Clearwater River on the Washington Coast. This new acquisition adds momentum to their work with coastal communities and tribes to promote sustainable economies, restore the Olympic rainforest and support a healthy ocean. It adds to the Conservancy Clearwater Forest Reserve and connects to the state’s Natural Resources Conservation Area to create a nearly complete 38-mile conservation corridor along the river. The Clearwater River runs cool and clear out of the Olympic Mountains, flowing into the Queets River, which is one of the Washington Coast’s most important salmon rivers. Restoration in this forest is an important step to increasing the abundance of salmon in coastal rivers. They hire local contractors for much of this work, providing sustainable jobs for the surrounding communities. All land owned by TNC in the region continues to be open to public and tribal use for hunting, fishing, traditional gathering of plants and medicines, boating, birding, hiking, and other coastal outdoor activities. Read more about the TNC Clearwater purchase here.