How the FUND Works
The Gig Harbor Land Conservation Fund works in collaboration with non-profit and governmental entities (what we call "eligible entities") to conserve in perpetuity undeveloped properties that are of value to the community, ideally as both open space and wildlife habitat. Potential properties will be judged by the extent to which the land contributes to the GHLCF mission and the extent to which the land is threatened by development. The GHLCF may contribute dollars to serve as "matching funds" for grants, for example for land purchases or conservation easements, or may contribute funds directly to escrow to support a purchase/easement by an eligible entity where a grant is not available. All GHLCF recipients agree to record a restriction on title that ensures that the land will be kept in conservation forever and agree that the land will be open for public enjoyment (while protecting sensitive areas, as applicable).
To help preserve undeveloped properties in the greater Gig Harbor area in order to retain the beauty of our natural environment, retain critical habitat for wildlife, particularly keystone species like salmon, and to ensure everyone has equitable access to natural open spaces.
The Gig Harbor Land Conservation Fund focuses on conserving properties in the greater Gig Harbor area of Pierce County, which includes properties both within and outside of the Gig Harbor City limits - generally any property with a Gig Harbor address (i.e. Artondale, Point Fosdick area, Fox Island, Rosedale area and the Key Peninsula). While our geographic scope is fairly large in order to plan for and respond to the future growth of our region, we recognize that right now the community is most concerned with conserving properties in areas that have already experienced extensive development and areas currently experiencing the greatest development pressure. The community has clearly expressed their dismay at the loss of trees, wildlife habitat and open space and our focus will be on conserving those properties that will most greatly enrich the health and beauty of our community.
The Advisory Board welcomes ideas of land to conserve from throughout the service area, however, we shall give special consideration to:
1. Land that is characterized as containing critical habitat, wildlife corridors and/or has historical or archeological significance.
2. Land within or in close proximity to developed or developing areas where open space for residents, trails, as well as wildlife corridors/habitat would constitute a desired community benefit. For example, land within the Gig Harbor "view basin", land inside City Limits, land included in the City's Urban Growth Areas (or nearby) and other areas of the community experiencing growth and development.
3. Land along sensitive shorelines.
Our Advisory Board always welcomes community input. We plan to announce on our Facebook page properties we are considering partnering on and would love to hear from you!
How we Identify Land
The GHLCF keeps an eye out for property that supports our mission. We welcome discussions with eligible entities (i.e. a local government, non-profit agency or park district) that have a mission-supporting property project identified. The Fund is also happy to talk with interested property owners directly (but these owners must ultimately work with an eligible entity as the "purchaser"). Property:
- Must meet the Fund mission.
- Must have a willing seller.
- Must have a “receiving agency” who is committed to owning, maintaining and stewarding the property (eligible government or non-profit entity). The Fund is happy to make introductions for property owners/agents with eligible entities to see if a match can be made.
- All property transactions must include restrictive covenants that ensure the land will forever be held in conservation and that it will be open to the public.
The Gig Harbor Land Conservation Fund will use the following principles to guide its investments in conservation properties in the greater Gig Harbor area. Decisions shall be:
The Gig Harbor community has expressed a strong interest in land conservation for open space and natural habitat preservation. This interest is supported by evidence that the availability of adequate open space is important for the health of the region’s flora and fauna, as well as the wellbeing of community residents.
Balanced and Sustainable
The Fund will consider land purchase decisions based upon ecological, social and cultural values with a focus on ensuring maximum benefits to plants and wildlife as well as current and future generations of residents.
The Fund recognizes and respects Native American interests and treaty rights, as well as the interests and rights of other members of our community, both long-standing and new. The Fund seeks input from all interested parties, and will strive to work together to fund projects that are respectful and have the greatest benefit.
Informed & Relevant
Decisions about land investments are made by the Fund’s Advisory Board which is comprised of residents of the Gig Harbor community. The Advisory Board will work to stay informed on matters relating to area environmental studies as well as community goals. Property characteristics, including habitat, open space and surrounding development, will be taken into consideration by the Board as it determines investment decisions.
Coordinated and Collaborative
The Fund will not purchase land on its own. If the property meets the Fund’s priority classifications, the Board will partner with eligible entities, including local governments and non-profit organizations, in order to assist these groups in their property acquisition efforts.
We consider the Fund to be a “Community Fund” which relies upon donations from individuals, businesses and other organizations. We will communicate clearly and in a timely manner as decisions are made about property investments. We welcome contributors, including donors and volunteers, who share the goal of enhancing the quality of life in Gig Harbor through the conservation of land that will be used for the benefit of preserving the beauty of our region.