Great Peninsula Conservancy

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Private tour of Klingel Wetland.

As a land trust, the Conservancy uses many tools to assist landowners and communities in their preservation efforts. If you’d like to learn more about any of the options described below, please contact the office at (360) 373-3500 or via email.

Why Someone Might Want to Conserve Their Land

Perhaps you’ve watched the forests surrounding your property slowly disappear and fear for the future of your own trees. Maybe you own a farm that’s been in your family for years, one that you’d like to see future generations continue to farm. Perhaps you and your neighbors are concerned about the future of a creek that runs across your lands. Maybe you want to make sure the views out your windows are ones that your grandchildren will be able to enjoy.

For these reasons and more, landowners like you choose to conserve their lands. As populations grow and residential and commercial development expands throughout our region, our forests, natural shorelines, and open spaces are rapidly disappearing forever. A voluntary gift of land (or a gift of conservation interest in land) is one of the most significant contributions a family or an individual can make to the scenic and natural future of the Great Peninsula region.

Options for Land Conservation

Conservation Easement

As a private property owner you have the right to privacy; you have the right to farm your own land; you have the right to use and enjoy your property; you have the right to sell your land, or to pass it on to your heirs; you have water and mineral rights…and the right to develop your property.

One way you can protect your land is by donating a conservation easement to the Great Peninsula Conservancy. A conservation easement is a permanent, legal agreement placed on the title that limits future uses of the land. Each conservation easement is unique, written with your cooperation and with your needs and the needs of your particular piece of property in mind. Because the easement stays with the property when it is sold or inherited, it offers permanent protection for your land.

You may continue to live on your property, you can use the property for purposes such as farming or forestry, and you can sell or pass on the property when you choose. But with a conservation easement in place, you'll have the assurance that, come what may, your unique piece of land will be protected. With conservation easements we choose to give future generations a chance to know and enjoy the land – just as we have.

Advantages to protecting your land with a conservation easement:

  • You retain ownership and may continue to live on the land, sell it, or pass it on to heirs.
  • Conservation easements are flexible and can be written to your specific needs.
  • They are permanent, regardless of who owns the land.
  • A Conservation easement may significantly lower estate taxes and property taxes.

Land Donation

Donating land for conservation purposes may be the best conservation strategy for you if you do not wish to pass your land to heirs, if you own property you no longer use, if you own a highly appreciated property, if you have substantial real estate holdings and wish to reduce estate tax burdens, or if you would merely like to be relieved of the responsibility of managing and caring for land.

The Conservancy accepts donations of land with and without conservation value. Lands with conservation value will either be held permanently by the Conservancy or protected with a conservation easement and then sold to a conservation buyer. Lands without conservation value will be sold to fund future projects and the work of the Conservancy. Donating land is more straightforward than protecting land with a conservation easement and you will receive tax benefits for your charitable donation regardless of whether the land has conservation value.

Advantages to donating your land to the Great Peninsula Conservancy:

  • The donation process is simpler than protecting land through a conservation easement.
  • You are relieved of responsibility for the land.
  • You receive tax benefits regardless of whether the land has conservation value.
  • You avoid capital gains tax.
  • If your land has conservation value, it will be permanently protected.


If you'd like to retain ownership of your land during your lifetime but want to ensure its protection after your death, donating your land to the Great Peninsula Conservancy via a bequest in your will may be an ideal solution for you. Before establishing the bequest, please contact the Conservancy so that we are aware of your intentions and prepared to accept your gift.

Advantages of bequesting your land to the Great Peninsula Conservancy:

  • You can continue to live on the land while ensuring its future protection.
  • You may significantly reduce estate taxes.

Remainder Interest Land Donation

An outright donation is not the only way to give land. You may give land while continuing to live on it by donating a remainder interest and retaining a reserved life estate. In this arrangement, you donate the property during your lifetime, but continue to live on and use the property. When you die (or sooner, if you choose), the land trust gains full title and control over the property.

By donating a remainder interest, you can continue to enjoy your land and may be able to claim an income tax deduction for the value of the donation, your estate taxes may be reduced, and the property taxes are levied only on that portion of the land retained for personal use.

Advantages to making a remainder interest land donation to the Great Peninsula Conservancy:

  • You may continue to live on your land while ensuring its future protection.
  • You may qualify for a reduction in estate taxes, an income tax deduction and a reduction in property taxes.

GPC Conservation Strategies

  • Focus conservation efforts on priority lands, identified by Great Peninsula Conservancy's Conservation Initiatives.
  • Develop conservation partnerships with individuals, public agencies, tribes, community groups, and other conservation organizations.
  • Conduct outreach to landowners on options for land conservation.
  • Build GPC's capacity to be responsive to conservation opportunities.

Streams and Estuaries

With over 250 miles of Puget Sound shoreline on the Great Peninsula , streams and estuaries are a vital part of the region's ecology. A water-endowed region, hundreds of estuaries and streams dot the landscape, fed by an extensive network of springs and wetlands as one moves up into the different watersheds. Streams and estuaries provide a multitude of important ecosystem benefits to both humans and wildlife. While often individually small in size, collectively, these creeks and coves have a big impact on the health of Puget Sound . Many fish, birds, and marine life depend upon them for survival and people value them for their beauty and natural features.

Creeks, tidelands, and lagoons are recognized as critical habitat for several threatened aquatic species. Riparian areas and wetlands also provide flood protection and help maintain water quality by filtering pollutants and excessive nutrients from runoff before it reaches Puget Sound . Conservation of land adjacent to water can also provide points of public access and opportunities for passive recreation, such as kayaking and bird watching, and other ways for people to connect with nature.

Unveiled in 2008, the Streams and Estuaries Initiative builds on earlier successes and focuses GPC 's energy on conserving water-related lands from tidelands to headwaters. To protect these natural assets, GPC will actively:

  • Develop partnerships with government agencies, tribes, community groups, and other conservation organizations to protect a diverse mix of streams and estuaries with high ecological and public benefits;
  • Work with communities in conservation and restoration planning at a watershed level; and
  • Take advantage of state, federal, and private funding dedicated to wetland, coastal, bird, and salmon restoration to protect critical fish and wildlife habitat associated with streams and estuaries.

Learn more:

Streams & Estuaries Fact Sheet

GPC Streams and Estuary Projects:

Grahn Kove-Gilberton Creek

Big Beef Creek

Martha John Creek



Great Peninsula forests are unique, complex associations of soils, creeks, a diversity of plant and animal life, and a highly evolved group of trees, many of which attain great age, size, and individuality. These spectacular forests provide myriad ecological services at no cost, including clean air and water, conservation of biodiversity, and carbon sequestration. These forests are matchless in their ability to help limit climate change, by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Carefully-managed forests may also provide valuable forest products and sustain livelihoods that are important to the local economy. Additionally, forests provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and scenic landscapes that help sustain local communities.

Finding the right mix between forests as reservoirs of biological diversity and economic dependence on timber extraction has not been easy to attain across the Great Peninsula . Conflicts over forest management continue to polarize the community and have left an unresolved legacy. However, the undisputed fact is that forests are facing extreme threat for conversion to residential and urban uses. Retaining these lands as working forests is the first step toward long-term conservation of forest ecosystems. Encouraging timberland owners to manage these lands for long-term sustainability of ecosystem health is the second step. Launched in 2009, GPC's Forests Initiative is still evolving. As projects are developed, they will be designed to achieve the following objectives:

  • Preserve contiguous tracts of forestland forever, contributing to local forest-based livelihoods and enhancing conservation of biological diversity;
  • Promote responsible forest management that not only supports timber production, but also contributes to habitat enhancement and healthy watersheds; and,
  • Stimulate snowballing of benefits related to forest conservation, like relief from climate change-related impacts and improved water quality.

GPC will pursue a dual path of on-the-ground conservation and participation in public forums as an advocate for forest conservation. Working with a variety of partners, GPC will play a lead in finding win-win benefits for livable communities, forest biodiversity, and a healthy climate.

Learn more:

GPC Forests Initiative Fact Sheet


Community Greenspaces

Greenspaces are a community necessity, which have value beyond preservation of wildlife habitat and neighborhood aesthetics. These lands preserve community character, rural or urban, and may support passive recreational opportunities such as trails, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and environmental education. Small forest enclaves, native wetlands, stream corridors, and farm fields help to define our communities. They provide many children with their first opportunity to explore the great outdoors. Farms feed our community's growing interest in buying locally-grown products. Trails and greenways attract neighbors and visitors alike and sustain our quality of life. Conservation of community greenspaces like these can help revitalize a neighborhood and provide a boost to the local economy.

GPC has a long history of conserving the special greenspaces in our communities from the Indianola Greenway and Silverdale's Clear Creek Trail to the many family-owned natural lands we protect through conservation easements. GPC will continue to pursue protection of community greenspaces through:

  • Partnering with community groups such as the Clear Creek Task Force, Friends of Miller Bay and the Hansville Greenway Association that act as long-term stewards for specific tracts of land;
  • Working with willing landowners throughout the Great Peninsula to protect natural areas in an increasingly urban environment;
  • Cooperating with other groups and agencies while exploring new sources of funding for greenspace projects; and
  • Leveraging financial contributions from local communities that benefit directly from protection of local greenspaces.

Learn more:

GPC Community Greenspaces Initiative Fact Sheet

Petersen Farm Project

You don’t have to own land to be a part of conservation in our region. Click here for other ways to get involved.


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