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Pierce County – with help from conservation friends – acquires Devil’s Head for public use

Post by Kris Sherman / The News Tribune on July 14, 2010 at 12:01 am with 14 Comments »
July 14, 2010 11:59 am

It seems like you can see forever from Devil’s Head. The tip of Pierce County’s Key Peninsula has sweeping views of Puget Sound, its wooded islands, its snow-capped mountains.

It’s travel poster stuff. And now, it’s in public hands.

Aerial view of Devil's Head: Photos courtesy of Cascade Land Conservancy

But don’t put on your hiking boots just yet; it will be some time before its publicly accessible.

The 94-acre swath at the toe of the Key Peninsula was acquired by Pierce County Tuesday with the help of a coalition of conservation partners, including the Cascade Land Conservancy, according to a news release.

Red line shows boundaries of Devil's Head property

It includes about a mile of shoreline, two bald eagle nesting sites, wetlands, old growth timber and a pocket estuary, the news release says.

The $3.4 million land purchase closed Tuesday.

The land was bought from Inspiration Inn, LLC. Owner Tim Jopp originally wanted to put a retreat and conference facility there.

Buying it took years of work and cooperation from a number of parties, including elected county officials, county employees, the Cascade Land Conservancy, the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, the Nisqually Tribe of Indians, the Greater Peninsula Conservancy, the Key Peninsula Parks District and the Washington Water Trails
Association, the news release said.

Funds for the purchase came from the Pierce County Conservation Futures program, the state Wildlife and Recreation Program and the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

The Cascade Land Conservancy worked with the various parties to bring about the deal, the news release said.

“Now we have this jewel in the Sound for the people of this region to enjoy forever,” Ryan Mello, Pierce County conservation director for the group, said in the news release.

Pierce County Parks and Recreation will own the land. There’s no direct access at the moment. Plans call for a longterm use as a regional park for hiking, kayaking, beach walking and other activities.

The upland portion could include a picnic area, viewpoint and easy trail to the beach on the west side of the property, the news release said.

Mount Rainier and the Olympic mountains will be visible from a scenic viewpoint.

“People who are interested in conservation and recreation have dreamed for years of preserving Devil’s Head, which provides incredible views of the natural landmarks that make this such a special place to live,” Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy said in the news release.

Leave a comment Comments → 14
  1. pjbalaska says:

    Very good thing. I clicked over here frankly wondering how the County was able to afford this. Still would have been supportive but wondered….now I know. Wonderful.

  2. Sumner401 says:

    Very good move by the county, long term thinking is what pays off in the end.
    The whining and complaining from the usual suspects will start in 3,2,1….

  3. herronisland says:

    This is wonderful news for those of us on the Key! Now if we could just stop all those awful geoduck rubber things from littering the coast…!

  4. “Very good thing. I clicked over here frankly wondering how the County was able to afford this. Still would have been supportive but wondered….now I know. Wonderful. ”

    The money comes from your property taxes. The conservation fund takes in 6.25 cents per thousand of assessed value.

    http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/pc/abtus/ourorg/parks/cfutures.htm

  5. JohnConner says:

    There’s more construction there than that image makes it seem.

    Link: (not sure if this will work)

    Google Maps

  6. whitman411 says:

    “The whining and complaining from the usual suspects will start in 3,2,1….”

    The above statement is not whining? And from a usual suspect, I might add.

  7. AreYouHighOrWhat says:

    Absolutely heartwarming to see the community put the preservation of our wonderful resources on it’s list of priorities. My only complaint is that MORE land isn’t set aside for greenbelts and migratory habitats, but, well, I had to stop reading the article when I saw the wanna-be-dictator Ryan Mello was involved…….NOW I have to be leary of the whole thing and the intentions of the groups involved considering his involvement.

    Watch for more witty insights from Sumner 401 in 3,2,1, *spits*

  8. yabetchya says:

    Good move. We need more open places for the public to enjoy especially on the water.

  9. yabetchya says:

    Sumner401 says:
    July 14, 2010 at 10:05 am

    The whining and complaining from the usual suspects will start in 3,2,1….

    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
    Mark Twain

  10. just don’t understand Pierce County….want to close parks for lack of
    funds 6 months ago……now they have money for this buy….some
    jerk is getting richer.

  11. skinner,

    I can understand the confusion. The county funds that were used for this purchase came from the Conservation Futures account. As a reader noted earlier, that’s funded by a property tax of 6.25 cents per $1,000 and can only be used to buy land for conservation. So even if the county had not partnered with the state and the Cascade Land Conservancy to make this purchase, not a dime of this money would be available to spend on park maintenance or other equally important needs. This money was spent in exactly the manner in which it was intended. I hope that helps.

    Hunter George
    Pierce County

  12. nwcolorist says:

    This could be a plus or minus, depending on how it’s developed. The overall plan will make a big difference. Let’s wait and see.

  13. kaerickson says:

    OMG they finally bought it? It seemed like this would never take place. Meanwhile the owner, Jopp?, who logged it bulldozed over a wetland, installed some power boxes, and dug a really big pit. Walking through the place is like walking through a desert when only a few years earlier it was a cool forest of alder, cedar, and fir. $3.4 million? I think that was the previous owners, Galbraith’s, price a couple years ago when he wanted to sell to the state parks.

  14. You may end up with Pierce County leasing this to Taylor Shellfish to grow clams.

    http://www.cascadeland.org/events/devils-head-celebration/?portal_status_message=Changes%20saved.

    Taylor is buying lunch for the Pierce County/Cascade Land Conservancy celebration of Devil’s Head Park !!! Is Taylor buying influence to plant Manila or geoduck clams at Devil’s Head? Hmm, sure looks like it.

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