Skating Lake land sold to conservation group

Land steward Austin Tomlinson waded into the Skating Lake wetland in the Surfside-Oysterville area of the Long Beach Peninsula. Long-time landowners recently sold the property to the Columbia Land Trust.

OYSTERVILLE — Sydney Stevens, a descendant of the Espy family who founded Oysterville on the Long Beach Peninsula in 1854, recently with her husband Nyel sold 54 acres of wetland property on Skating Lake near Oysterville to Columbia Land Trust for the purpose of conservation and wildlife habitat protection.

“I often feel that the Espy family and Oysterville are so interrelated it is hard to know which has had the greatest influence upon the other,” Stevens wrote on her blog.

The Skating Lake acquisition builds on the habitat of the neighboring 340-acre Skating Lake State Park. Northern flicker, black bear, trumpeter swan, and thousands of shorebirds take delight in the tall grasses, towering Sitka spruce trees, and healthy waters.

Coastal dunes stretch from north to south on the Peninsula with a series of central wetlands and lakes nestled between them. The Land Trust has conserved hundreds of acres in this key habitat area along the Peninsula, including properties at Leadbetter Point (Hines Marsh), Island and Loomis Lakes, and Breaker and Briscoe Lakes.

“Beyond its support of wildlife, this project also takes another step toward protecting drinking water for the community and adjacent cranberry bogs,” said Conservation Manager Nadia Gardner. “Preserving this land will provide an important buffer to state park lands essential to wildlife connectivity.”

The natural condition of the property, which is largely self-sustaining, will require little restoration with the exception of some weed control and native plant installations along the property boundaries, the land trust said in a press release.

“The Land Trust looks forward to playing a small part in preserving Oysterville’s natural history. Thank you to the sellers, Sydney and Nyel Stevens, and to our funders at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Coastal Program and the Washington State Department of Ecology,” the organization said.

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