We Work - Building
a homestead dating back to 1885, Homestead Park is located
near the community of Rosedale on the Gig Harbor Peninsula.
As the area’s population grew, the property owners
became increasingly determined to sell for the property’s
residential development value. However, the community had
long viewed the land with its forests, wetlands, and rolling
meadows as a potential park site and was determined to turn
that vision into reality.
The Conservancy reached an option-to-buy agreement for $2.5
million with the owning Sehmel family, and local citizens
immediately began working to raise support for the project.
Fundraising efforts ranged from door-to-door canvassing
to plant and garage sales to dances and concerts. Individuals
and families picked grapes from the Sehmel vineyards to
produce a Rosedale Red, a table wine given to all donors
making a significant pledge. More than $400,000 in private
funds were raised to purchase the acreage.
In addition, supporters packed the Pierce County’s
council chambers each time Homestead Park was on the agenda.
Impressed by the community’s commitment and financial
support, the Pierce County Parks and Recreation Department
recommended that the council pledge a large portion of its
Conservation Futures money toward the purchase. The recommendation
was accepted and the Pierce County donated $1.99 million
to the project, supplying the remainder of funds needed
to make the purchase.
The Conservancy holds a conservation
easement on 75 acres of the 100-acre park, which will
be used for passive recreation, such as hiking and picnicking.
The remainder will be used for active recreation. Homestead
Park is an excellent example of what a community can accomplish
when it builds a partnership with local government and a
land trust like the Great Peninsula Conservancy.