Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Save Mar Vista Resort Petition

Standing atop the jagged shorelines of San Juan Island, the steep hills rising giddily on the Island's west side adjoining False Bay, there is a sanctuary that reminds one of days gone by. As you take in unparalleled views of the Olympic mountains and enjoy the unforgettably magnificent sunsets reflecting across the pristine waters of the Haro Straits- you cannot help but be reminded of what our settlers must have encountered many years before.  Watching the orange sun setting over Victoria, whispers of the past echo in your ears, along with tiny footprints of raccoons, river otters and the occasional flap of eagle wings soaring overhead. Located on the West Side of San Juan Island is one of the most beautifully untamed waterfront properties on the island. With over 2000 feet of waterfront, gravel beaches and accessible rocky shorelines, many visitors and residents have long enjoyed the open prairie, wooded areas and stunning views across the Haro Straits in one of the prime land based whale watching spots in the San Juan Islands. The place of which I speak is Mar Vista Resort, a quaint little resort on forty westside, waterfront acres with eight fully-furnished cabins- private beaches boasting seals on every outcropping and deer at every turn. We're talking an outright sanctuary here.

And all of this may just be about to change. On March 10, 2008, Emelia Lee Bave, 97, died peacefully at home at her beloved Mar Vista Resort on San Juan Island. She had been active in the arts and well known on the island for her "Pig War" plays in the 60s and 70s.  With her passing has come a tragic finale...Mar Vista has been placed on the market - price tag $11,400,000. 

There has been a petition started to save the land from development. In the San Juan Islands, there is an organization called the San Juan County Land Bank, created in 1990 by Islanders who agree it is important to ensure that the distinct character of life in these islands will endure. The Land Bank Mandate? To preserve in perpetuity areas in the county that have environmental, agricultural, aesthetic, cultural, scientific, historic, scenic or low-intensity recreational value and to protect existing and future sources of potable water. The Land Bank's mission is a reflection of the community’s broad values united by a powerful vision: Care of Place. It demonstrates how strongly connected islanders feel to the unique landscape of the San Juan islands, and a prevailing awareness that the mark we make on the land is what most profoundly influences the legacy we leave future generations. Every Islander in the county contributes to the fund for the continuation of crucial stewardship efforts.

The following factors must be met for the Land Bank to pursue a project:

The property must provide an important conservation resource.

• The property's identified conservation resource(s) should be vulnerable to adverse change.

• The proposed project must adequately protect the identified conservation resource(s) of the property.

• The acquisition should make effective use of the Land Bank's limited funds and resources.

• There must be general public support.

Recently, a petition was started to "save" Mar Vista from adverse development.
As of this writing there have been 187 signatures added since it's inception on September 11, 2008. If you care to support the preservation of a relatively intact ecosystem it is asked that you visit the site, review the public outpouring of support and sign if you believe in seeking a more authentic life grounded in nature and spirit and the preservation of what few areas remain that deserve protection from our ongoing development.

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