There are some substantial differences between the battle between a Citizen's Group and the Port of Tacoma over Rocky Prairie; and the battle between Citizens' Groups and the City of Olympia and Developer Triway Enterprises over the downtown Olympia "isthmus." But there are a lot of similarities. Similar sets of logic apply to the situation here in Olympia, as compared to the situation in Rocky Prairie. Despite the differences, the best decision in the local Olympia case might very well be to pull the property off the market. City Council has the ability to enact a moratorium ordinance on the currently passed rezone. That would provide time to figure out how to go about creating a truly wonderful and novel park feature - a park feature that would accent the natural beauty that exists in such quantity here in Olympia. Would that be the right move to make? Seems so to me.
The main difference in terms of environmental restoration between the isthmus property and the Rocky Prarie property is that the isthmus property is more expensive and matters less.
Not to say that the isthmus property doesn't matter at all or that the cost is impossible to get to to buy it and restore it, its just the Rocky Prairie property is current undeveloped, is still ecologically connected to other large pieces of habitat. The isthmus properties, though easier to find on a walk from my house, would be islands of good habitat among bad.
A regrettable, yet real, concept being kicked around in restoration circles is called triage. Basically, with the limited resources we have to put towards species and habitat restoration, we have to choose what to go after first.
Here's a basic primer on the debate and another and a response to it.
So, if I had $100,000 to spend on saving some land from development, I'd spend it at Rocky Prairie first, then figure out where to go from there.
By the way, God bless you for being out there tonight.