Families, salmon, orcas, surfers all applaud opening of Olympic Peninsula’s newest conservation area

April 22nd, 2016 – Port Angeles – All are welcome to a community celebration on Saturday to mark the Grand Opening of the Lyre Conservation Area. The 280-acre Conservation Area, 20 miles west of Port Angeles, provides access to a half-mile of Strait of Juan de Fuca shoreline. It also protects streams, tide-flats and kelp beds. A large upland forest provides habitat for salmon, birds and wildlife. 12628401_1082377431801850_8726524859769220727_o

“The Lyre Conservation Area is an ideal spot for recreational activities like bird and wildlife viewing, surfing, picnicking and beach walking,” said Tom Sanford, Land Trust executive director.  “Across Clallam County, public access to the Strait is limited. For years, we’ve seen a community request to create more public access.  The Land Trust is really excited to provide this access while also permanently conserving this beautiful waterfront property in its current natural state.”

The project is the largest land protection project in the land trust’s 26-year history.

The Land Trust purchased the property in 2014. Volunteers built new parking areas, removed debris, and installed information kiosks. A crew from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe replaced a bridge and removed a dilapidated home. Students from Franklin Elementary School and other volunteers planted over 1,700 trees and shrubs.

The project was the first major success of the Shorelines Conservation Collaborative, a coalition of fourteen Puget Sound land trusts organized by the Washington Association of Land Trusts. The group has set an ambitious goal to protect 150 shoreline properties and restore 30 shoreline properties in the next 10 years.

“There’s a huge need to work together to protect Puget Sound,” said Hannah Clark, Executive Director of the Washington Association of Land Trusts. “The shoreline of Puget Sound may look pristine and accessible, but it is neither. Protection of the Lyre Conservation Area helps ensure Puget Sound’s shorelines are healthy, vibrant, clean and full of life.”

Saturday’s festivities begin at 12:30pm and continue through 4:00pm, including:

– Educational tours with local experts about birds, habitat restoration, cultural history and more.
– A Grand Opening Ceremony with Representative Steve Tharinger and other honored guests (2:00pm)

Find out more about the event at northolympiclandtrust.org/event/lyre-conservation-area-grand-opening

About the Washington Association of Land Trusts

The Washington Association of Land Trusts (WALT), formed in 2007, is a statewide coalition of 27 nonprofit organizations working to permanently protect Washington’s lands and waters through voluntary, cooperative conservation.

Across the state, land trusts protect the land base that sustains the cornerstones of our environment, quality of life, and economy – our salmon-spawning streams and rivers, Puget Sound shorelines, productive forests and farmland, wildlife corridors and refuges, trails and parkland. WALT’s member land trusts have deep connections to local communities and economies and a proven ability to protect land with critical conservation values. WALT represents the collective voice of its members and is committed to strengthening their ability to conserve precious lands for future generations.