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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Does the Conservancy work with other
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,
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
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
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