Returning coho, winter steelhead, and cutthroat make their way past the Indianola spit into Miller Bay and reach the Suquamish Tribe’s Grovers Creek Salmon Hatchery where Miller Bay Road meets Indianola Road. The staff manually passes the wild, sea-running fish over the hatchery dam so they can spawn upstream. The fish swim up Grovers Creek, passing under the road into the newly conserved Durham Preserve.
In November 2018, Great Peninsula Conservancy purchased two parcels directly upstream from the hatchery to save vital habitat for the wild coho, threatened steelhead, and cutthroat trout that spawn here. In addition to a healthy section of Grovers Creek, GPC’s new Durham Preserve has 9 acres rich with wetlands that provide homes for birds, beavers, black bears, amphibians, and other wildlife. The creek and adjoining wetlands provide plenty of nutrients and still pools for young coho salmon to thrive. They spend the first year of their life in freshwater before traversing the Salish Sea to the Pacific.
GPC purchased the property from the Durham family who wanted to preserve it in honor of their late parents — George and Tayeko Durham — and create a legacy for them. George and Tayeko loved spending time outdoors and savored the natural beauty of the peninsula, often taking a camper to their undeveloped land to enjoy the peace and quiet along the creek. Their daughters — Yuki, Zoe, and Rebecca — generously arranged to sell the property to GPC below market value because they knew their parents would want to permanently protect the land they loved so much for their grandchildren and others to enjoy.
Durham Preserve is an integral addition to Great Peninsula Conservancy’s 279-acre Grovers Creek Preserve to the north and 4-acre Hitoshi and Alice Kawahara Preserve on the Grovers Creek estuary to the south. This land purchase was funded entirely by GPC members — our amazing conservation community that now includes the Durham family and the lasting legacy of George and Tayeko.