An egregious violation of the state Shoreline Management Act and county code took place last week on San Juan Island, when property which has shoreline on two sides was clear-cut.
The property, formerly Mar Vista Resort, already had expansive unobstructed views of the strait and the Olympic Mountains.
Now, as a result of the loss of the trees and other vegetation which had provided habitat to a variety of wildlife, the view to the northwest is also unobstructed.
In the cleared area, an eagle often sat on one of the trees. A patch of the endangered Golden Paintbrush wildflower was burned.
According to the owner's attorney,Although some grass was burned over a portion of the "native population" of Paintbrush, Mr. Thomas (U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Theodore Thomas) concluded that because the Paintbrush was dormant, there would be no "take" of the plant from the burm, and that the burn "may in fact, improve the conditions for the plant."
Previous owner Lee Bave, who died a few years ago, had received a certificate from the Department of Interior thanking her for preserving the plant. The plant is a listed as a Washington state endangered species and a federally threatened species. It is ranked state and globally as critically imperiled.
The new owners, after winning a $217 million Powerball lottery, purchased the property earlier this year from the Bave Family Trust.
An investigation by San Juan County and state agencies is underway. San Juan Islander was unable to reach the owners for comment. State and county officials had no comment at this time.
The area outlined in red was clear-cut. The cabin circled in gold is the one visible in the photos. The aerials were taken in 2013.
The main house, circled in blue, faces due west.
Straw covers the ground.