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Push is on to save Orcas Island landmark (in Washington state)

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carzen Donating Member (112 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:16 AM
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Push is on to save Orcas Island landmark (in Washington state)
Turtleback Mountain is getting by with a little help from its friends some you've heard of, and some you haven't.

A coalition of conservation groups the San Juan Preservation Trust, the San Juan County Land Bank and The Trust for Public Land has one more month to raise money to buy the mountain on the west side of Orcas Island. Once in trust, the 1,578-acre natural landscape would be opened to hikers and forever closed off to developers.

Financial support has ranged from a $1 million matching gift from a Stuart Island family to 20 percent fee discounts that Orcas Island's chimney sweep is offering customers who have contributed to the Turtleback campaign.

"The Far Side" cartoonist Gary Larson has created an original artwork for the effort. The cartoon is screened on T-shirts being given away to donors who give at least $150. It features doctors tending to the mountain in a hospital emergency room. One doctor is applying a defibrillator while another is removing developers and tossing them into a waste can.
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Divernan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:45 AM
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1. You'd think the "philanthropic" owner could lower the price 7%
Some developer who would develop "estate homes" offered $18.5 million; conservationists have raised $16.5 million. If the organization which owns the land is truly "philanthropic", they would gladly accept the $16.5 million.

I've visited Orca Island to go scuba diving - too cold for my blood at 42 degrees water temp - so we cut short the diving and went hiking - it is a magnificent wild setting and I envy those people who live there. (The underwater scenery was incredibly beautiful also - but divers need a drysuit to manage the cold.)

More from the article:

Larson and his wife, Toni Carmichael, who own a place on Orcas, are members of the campaign steering committee. "Having spent time on the island off and on since I was a kid, it's amazed me that to this day it's been able to retain as much of its unspoiled beauty as it has," said Larson, who grew up in Tacoma. "My sense of why this is so is because many, if not most, of the people who live here are like-minded in their appreciation for the island's intrinsic beauty and disconnect from the kind of blight we all see around other parts of the state, where farmlands are converted into shopping malls, rolling hills have become housing developments and sprawl goes unchecked."

Although closed to the public, Turtleback is beloved in the islands, its green hump serving as a landmark for boaters on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Over the years, few have had the chance to scale the mountain and enjoy its far-reaching views. A gazebo near the top where Clapp used to entertain guests has evolved into a romantic hideaway for trespassers. No new development is planned on the mountain's slopes or summit, beyond carving out hiking trails and possibly a small cabin for the caretaker.

Prospective donors have been escorted up the mountain. Bob Lundeen, a former chairman of Dow Chemical who retired on Orcas in 1986, took the tour on a clear day a couple of months ago. He ended up donating $300,000 and prefers to think of his gift as an investment in maintaining Orcas' quality of life. "I had no idea until I got up top there how much diversity and beauty there was," he said. "There is old-growth forest, wetlands, and you get to see the origins of a lot of our streams. And the views, particularly from the steep west side of the mountain, are unbelievable. "Turtleback is unspoiled, kind of like the way God made it."

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Divernan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
2. Also, welcome to DU!
Strap yourself in - it's going to get pretty wild politically right up to the election and then afterward if the GOP plays their traditional games with the votecounts.
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