Great Peninsula Conservancy

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Waterfront on the Boyles Conservation Easement.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Great Peninsula Conservancy?

The Conservancy is your local land trust, a private non-profit organization formed for the purpose of preserving the rural landscapes, natural habitat and open spaces of the Great Peninsula region, spanning Kitsap, Mason and western Pierce Counties. The Conservancy is comprised of a professional staff, a volunteer Board of Directors consisting of a cross section of citizens from local communities and a dedicated cadre of local volunteers.

How does the Conservancy go about its preservation work?

The Conservancy works in partnership with landowners, community groups and local governments, providing the tools and expertise to enable landowners to preserve forever the special landscapes of the Great Peninsula region. The Conservancy conserves land through donations of conservation easements or gifts of land, or by purchase with donated funds, and counsels property owners on preservation techniques available to them. All inquiries are confidential and without obligation.

The Conservancy preserves many types of land, from working farms and forestlands to shorelines, estuaries and recreational lands. The Conservation Plan, developed with input from the local communities, sets criteria and priorities for the types of lands the Conservancy will focus its efforts on. Projects that provide connections to other protected areas, which have strong community support, and where there is a threat to the land’s conservation values are high priorities.

Some of the lands that the Conservancy owns have public trails for recreation. Most of the Conservancy’s conservation easement lands are privately owned and therefore are not accessible to the general public, except via special members-only tours throughout the year.

For more information on specific land conservation options, please visit the How We Conserve Lands page.

What is the difference between the Great Peninsula Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy?

Like the Nature Conservancy, the Great Peninsula Conservancy is a non-profit conservation organization, which acquires and stewards land. However, TNC is an international organization with a statewide program and objectives in Washington, while the Conservancy is a local, grassroots organization working to conserve land in the communities of Kitsap, Mason and western Pierce counties. The Conservancy also has a broader purpose than TNC, working to preserve open space, as well as the natural habitat, working lands and historic areas that are part of this region’s rural heritage.

Doesn’t the County or other government sponsor conservation?

Yes, local and state governments do acquire and manage land for conservation. In fact, the Conservancy occasionally assists government agencies in acquiring conservation lands (e.g., Banner Forest; Indianola Waterfront and Woodland Preserve; Wollochet Bay; Stavis Bay; Chico Creek). Often landowners who are interested in conserving their land prefer to work with a private land trust rather than public agencies. While state and federal governments preserve large tracts of wildlife habitat and forest preserves, the Conservancy focuses our efforts on lands that are important to the local community, lands that are not usually the focus of large, statewide protection efforts. Public funds for conservation are limited. The Conservancy provides voluntary and privately funded conservation options for landowners to take action to protect their own lands.

Aren’t zoning regulations enough to preserve land?

The effectiveness of regulatory approaches to conservation has its proponents and its critics. Regulations are controversial; they are also changeable. The Conservancy’s approach to land conservation is to work with willing landowners, who want to voluntarily protect their land. The protections provided by the Conservancy are permanent, and do not change. Regulations are often “one-size-fits-all;” but the Conservancy’s conservation options are individually crafted to sit the desires of the landowner, the land trust and the land’s conservation values.

Does the Conservancy pay taxes on lands it owns?

The Conservancy protectlands through fee ownership and conservation easements. The Conservancy does pay taxes on some of the land that it owns. It also applies for local tax break programs that provide landowners with reduced tax rates for keeping land in conservation status. Landowners who place conservation easements on their property may receive a lower tax rating. This will vary with each county and property. In all cases, the amount of tax loss to the community is insignificant when compared to the permanent protection of the irreplaceable natural and scenic landscapes of our region.

How does the Conservancy stewards its lands?

The lands held by the Conservancy via conservation easements are monitored at least annually to ensure that the terms of the easement are being met. This involves making an appointment with the landowner, walking the property, taking photos at specific locations, and writing a report. The landowners remain responsible for all maintenance of their lands. On the lands that the Conservancy owns, stewards remove invasive weeds, clean up the area, clear paths and post signs. This work is all performed by volunteers and overseen by Conservancy staff.

Where does the Conservancy’s money come from?

The majority of operating funds for the Great Peninsula Conservancy come from private, local sources, including individuals and foundations. In acquiring land, the Conservancy relies on a combination of private funds as well as public grants. Donations can be directed to a specific project or can be left for the Conservancy to use where they are needed most.

The Conservancy has acquired most of its current holdings—both conservation easements and land—as gifts from landowners. Occasionally those gifts are made as bequests, in the owner’s will. The Conservancy also has a successful record of raising private funds and seeking public grants to purchase lands—the Indianola Waterfront and Woodland Preserve and Homestead Park in Gig Harbor are examples. In both cases the private funds were combined with public funds to acquire the land, and the Conservancy holds a conservation easement over the land to ensure it is always used for conservation purposes.

Does the Conservancy work with other local groups?

Yes! The Great Peninsula Conservancy works with a number of local governments and organizations in its work. For example, the Conservancy sponsors several community projects: Clear Creek Trail, Cowling Creek and Hansville Greenway. The Conservancy provides administrative oversight, technical assistance for land transactions and manages donations. Many Conservancy donors chose to provide annual support through membership to the Conservancy as well as donate to these special projects in their own communities.

How does the Conservancy's work affect me?

You benefit from the Conservancy’s work in several ways: First, there are the projects and activities in your community. Second, there are the benefits of preserving open space, natural, scenic and historic lands generally providing habitat for wildlife; spectacular scenery and quiet refuges; lands and waters for passive and active recreation; preserving a sense of history and place. Saving these lands protects aquifers, filters water to keep it clean, stabilizes slopes and high bluffs, and helps prevent flooding.

How can I get involved?

The Conservancy welcomes volunteers and members at any level. Volunteers serve on our board, committees, assist in our office, monitor properties, staff booths, and assist with special events. Members are treated to members-only property tours, an annual celebration and other events. The Conservancy's Outdoor Activities Program provides a variety of outings to hike and learn first-hand about our wonderful surroundings. For more information, please check out our Get Involved page.


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