The Baker Preserve
This is a vigorous hike up a steep, winding trail. The hike is 1.64 miles with a 1,060 foot elevation gain to an overlook with magnificent views of Rosario Strait and the San Juan Islands.
The Baker Preserve is the Heritage Trust's first controlled-access preserve. Due to the ecological sensitivity and sometimes, hazardous terrain, hikers are required to sign in at the trailhead before accessing the Baker Preserve trail. Dogs are not allowed (learn why here). Page 12 of the Baker Preserve Management Plan summarizes the reasons for this rule.
Frey and Estrid Baker purchased the Baker Mountain Ranch property circa 1940. Over a period of many years, the Heritage Trust worked with the Baker family to carefully determine the best way to preserve the conservation values of the land, while allowing agriculture and forestry activities to continue.
In 2007 the Heritage Trust succeeded in permanently protecting the 435 acre Baker Ranch, one of the largest and most visible protected shoreline properties in the San Juan Islands. Today, Charles Baker lives in the historic farmhouse, which boasts a basement built with original fish trap timbers. The property contains a diverse mix of habitats including mature forest, grassy balds, wetlands, farmland and over one mile of saltwater shoreline.
Conservation easements held by the Trust’s partners, The San Juan Preservation Trust and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, limit development of the property and ensure permanent protection of the land's natural values.
The Heritage Trust owns and manages a portion of the property as the Baker Preserve. The WA Natural Heritage Council has designated the Baker Preserve as part of the Statewide System of Natural Areas. Across the State, these natural area preserves are living museums that protect the best remaining examples of rare plant and animal habitats. Read news article here.