Gig Harbor Conservation Effort Aims To Preserve Natural Beauty – Reverb MSN Music

© Image courtesy: The Gig Harbor Land Conservation Fund
Founding members of the conservation fund met for a launch party at Skansie Brothers Park earlier this week.

GIG HARBOR, WA — As Gig Harbor’s population booms, developers have rushed to provide housing for the once-sleepy community. But some community members say, they’re not happy with the way recent growth has disrupted the local environment.

Enter the Gig Harbor Land Conservation Fund (GHLCF), a newly-established, community-led effort aiming to better balance population growth while still preserving Gig Harbor’s natural beauty.

“We’ve lost so many trees over the last 15 years,” said Gig Harbor City Councilperson Robyn Denson, a founding member of the GHLCF. “The best way to ensure that our community continues to have adequate natural spaces for people, animals and plant life, is to place some of the remaining undeveloped lands, located in strategic areas, in conservation forever.”

Gig Harbor’s population has nearly doubled over the last decade. According to the 2020 Census, the population grew almost 5,000 people from 7,126 residents in 2010, to 12,029 by April 2020. GHLCF members say that’s had a detrimental impact on the local environment, as developer clear-cut large swaths of wildlands to make room for new housing.

To protect the region’s most-critical open spaces, animal habitats and preserve its natural beauty, the Gig Harbor Land Conservation Fund aims to buy parcels of land, and hand them to local government, non-profit agencies or park districts who will then steward the lands.

“What can be a more meaningful legacy than to help preserve a forest or shoreline forever and ever,” said GHLCF Advisory Board member Margarita Leas. “The lands conserved with the help of this fund will forever shelter animals, encourage plant-life and provide space for people to find respite and experience our area’s incredible natural beauty.”

Many GHLCF members have worked with the county on conservation efforts before, through the recent effort to purchase and preserve the North Creek Salmon Heritage Site — an 11.5 acre parcel of undeveloped land just north of the Gig Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant— a critical salmon habitat that had been slated to be destroyed to make way for 34 new homes. Following that success story, Pierce County Council Chair Derek Young says he’s excited to work the fund on future preservation efforts.

“I’m excited for the opportunities this fund will create for conservation in Gig Harbor,” Young said. “Coupled with the work of other partners and Pierce County’s Conservations Futures Fund, I am hopeful that we will be able to make a larger impact on protecting Gig Harbor’s critical areas and preserving open space for generations to come.”

According to fund leaders, any local parcel of land may be considered for preservation, but special consideration will go to lands that:

  • Contain critical animal habitats, wildlife corridors or have historical or archeological significance.
  • Land that is in or near developed areas, where the open space benefits residents or adds trails.
    • Examples given by the fund include the Gig Harbor “view basin” and land inside City Limits.
  • Land along the Gig Harbor shoreline.

“We hope this fund grows quickly so that we can start saving more of our forests and critical stream habitat. When land has been clear cut and developed, it’s simply too late – we’ll never get those trees back”, said Jennifer Keating, GHLCF Advisory Board member and member of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. “The group has already identified a number of important parcels in Gig Harbor, the loss of which would be devastating for the character of our community and health of our ecosystem. Time is of the essence to lock these parcels down as natural open space forever.”

>> Donate to the fund or learn more about the effort from the Gig Harbor Land Conservation Fund’s website.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *