The Bainbridge Island Land Trust has honored not one, but many islanders with its prestigious Phyllis Young Award.
The grassroots group Keep Gazzam Wild is the 2012 winner of the honor.
The group started in 2007 after a road was proposed to run through the Gazzam Lake area, ultimately paving the way for new development. The surrounding neighbors, approximately 27 homeowners around Gazzam Lake, came together to fight off the new development.
They initially formed "Save Gazzam Lake" which morphed into "Keep Gazzam Wild."
The concerned islanders raised $200,000 to add to $600,000 offered by the Bainbridge Island Metro Parks and Recreation District toward the purchase of parcels around Gazzam Lake. They then partnered with the land trust to raise even more money. Bumper stickers were made and campaign signs were planted asking islanders to keep Gazzam wild.
More than 300 households contributed to the effort, and the lake properties were fully purchased and preserved by the parks district last year. The effort led to preservation of 30 another acres of forest for the Gazzam Lake preserve.
Keep Gazzam Wild raised more money than was needed for the purchase. The extra funds are being used to improve a parking lot off Marshall Road and the construction of a new trail in the Gazzam park.
The Phyllis Young Award is the land trust's annual award, and is given to an islander, or islanders, who promote the trust's mission "to preserve and steward the diverse natural environment of Bainbridge Island for the benefit of all."
The award is named after the first person that granted a conservation easement to the trust, Phyllis Young.