Update, May 2018:
WE DID IT! After many, many years and countless hours of advocacy by citizens, the San Juan County Land Bank successfully negotiated a purchase agreement for Lopez Hill. The “Heart of Lopez” is now permanently protected for future generations.
Thank you to all the volunteers and partners for helping to make this happen.
The 400 acre Lopez Hill property, including the summit, are currently owned by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and leased to San Juan County on a 50-year lease, beginning in June 2009.
While the successful execution of the lease was a great triumph, Lopez Hill is not completely protected for the citizens of San Juan County and future generations. In 2059, the lease will be up for renewal. In 2007 the Washington State Legislature appropriated $5 million for the lease. The total appraised value was just over $6 million, and the difference was the amount needed to buy it in 2009. How much will the lease cost be in 2059? Will the state budget and legislative climate still be favorable? The Friends of Lopez Hill don’t want to take that chance!
The next step for Lopez Hill is for the county, through the Land Bank, to negotiate a conversion from lease to ownership. The time to do it is sooner rather than later, so that most of the $5M appropriated for the lease will be available to apply to the purchase price. We do expect to need to raise additional funds, but at this time we don’t know how much will be needed. The Land Bank can accept donations earmarked for the purchase of Lopez Hill. Please let the Land Bank know that you support the purchase of Lopez Hill.
We’re not out of the woods yet!
Our immediate goal is to convert the 50-year lease with the DNR to a purchase agreement whereby San Juan County would own Lopez Hill forever.
Only when this goal is accomplished can we say that Lopez Hill is truly preserved for future generations.
The Land Bank has the purchase of Lopez Hill on its long term plans, but they need to hear from you to know that it is a priority for Lopez Island.
Donations to the Land Bank for Lopez Hill
Donations to the Land Bank are tax deductible and should be earmarked “For Lopez Hill.”
As a department of San Juan County, the Land Bank’s tax exempt status is covered by this letter: Tax Exempt Status.
Donations to Friends of Lopez Hill
We gratefully accept donations to help defray administrative costs (map printing, flyers, postage, signs, etc.). Donations are now being handled by the San Juan County Land Bank. [as of September 2020] Please make checks payable to San Juan County Land Bank, be sure to put Friends of Lopez Hill in the memo field, and mail to:
Friends of Lopez Hill, c/o SJ Co Land Bank, 350 Court Street #6, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.
Thank you for your support!
(Please note: The Friends of Lopez Hill are not a registered non-profit organization: tax-deductible donations should be made to the San Juan County Land Bank.)