The Conservation Fund purchases ranch in Tenino, Washington

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Val Keefer, The Conservation Fund, 703-908-5802; Rachel Blomker, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, 360-701-3101

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The more than 1,500-acre property is now one step closer to protection for the benefit of people and wildlife.

THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. — Today, The Conservation Fund announced its purchase of the 1,567-acre ranch just west of the City of Tenino, Washington. This acquisition is a critical step to establishing the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW)’s future Violet Prairie Wildlife Area Unit.

The Conservation Fund is a nationally recognized nonprofit that focuses on land conservation that makes both environmental and economic sense. The Conservation Fund will work with WDFW and hold the Violet Prairie property until adequate funding is available for the ultimate purchase, long-term management, and protection of this important habitat.

“Beautiful and ecologically-rich ranchlands like this one face high threats of development,” said Gates Watson, northwest director of The Conservation Fund. “Our purchase of the property helps eliminate that threat, while buying time for WDFW to secure the funding needed for its ultimate protection of the land. We’re thrilled to be aiding in this effort and are excited for the opportunities the future wildlife area unit will bring to the community.”

In the short term, the property will remain closed until appropriate provisions are made for public use. When the property is eventually open as a wildlife area, it will support public recreational opportunities such as hiking, hunting, and wildlife viewing. The new unit will be managed as part of the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area.

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The Violet Prairie property has unique habitat features, including lowland prairies, wet prairie-oak woodlands, riparian areas, and conifer forests that provide habitat for various wildlife. 

“Our mission is to conserve land and water for people and wildlife in Washington,” said Larry Phillips, Coastal Region Director at WDFW. “We are fortunate to have a strong partnership with The Conservation Fund to make this land acquisition possible, and we are thankful for the collaboration and support from Thurston County, the City of Tenino, and the Thurston Economic Development Council. We look forward to opening this beautiful property to public access in the coming years.” 

Phillips said protection of the Violet Prairie property is a high priority for the state due in part to its unique habitat features. Its makeup of Puget lowland prairies, wet prairie-oak woodlands, riparian areas, and conifer forests provides habitat for various wildlife, including the federally threatened Mazama pocket gopher.

The partners are appreciative of Dr. William Barnett, the former landowner, for his commitment to keeping his land conserved. Dr. Barnett said, "I would like to thank Troy Dana of Fay Ranches for his extraordinary effort working with The Conservation Fund and many others to get this done. I am pleased we were able to preserve this unique property for generations to come."

Fay Ranches' dedication to conservation for nearly 30 years has guided efforts to conserve land as agricultural ground as well as quality fish and wildlife habitat coast to coast. “This was a great outcome for both The Conservation Fund and Dr. Barnett,” said Troy Dana, Fay Ranches Principal Broker of Washington. 

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 8.5 million acres of land. Learn more: conservationfund.org

About Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities. Learn more: https://wdfw.wa.gov/

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email (Title6@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.