Land Trust secures nature preserve in Douglas County

WENATCHEE — The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust recently acquired 1,396 acres in northern Douglas County for the purpose of conserving shrub-steppe and wetland habitats. Spiva Butte Nature Preserve is home to several sensitive species of plants, wildlife and birds. Most notably, the preserve provides critical habitat for one of the last two viable sage-grouse populations remaining in the state, and becomes the first Land Trust owned preserve in Douglas County, according to a news release from the Land Trust.

The land was purchased from Ferdi Businger, who invested his life savings to buy the land when it was marketed for development, in the hopes of permanently protecting it. Businger later approached the Land Trust and worked with them to secure permanent protection of the land.

Because this land is critical habitat for several sensitive species, there is no public access to the preserve at this time. Over the next few years the Land Trust will learn more about the property’s ecology and develop a stewardship plan that addresses opportunities for public visitation that are compatible with its conservation purpose. Until that time, it will only be open for public visitation on sanctioned Land Trust field trips or by written permission of the Land Trust.

Funding for the Spiva Butte Nature Preserve acquisition was provided by the Land Trust, an interest free loan from the Icicle Fund, and individual donors. The Land Trust also hopes to receive funding through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.

For more information, visit cdlandtrust.org.