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Protected Habitat, for a Population of One
Fifty years ago, Marty Bluewater fought to keep his home among the nesting birds of Protection Island. Now he’s fighting for the birds.
Mr. Bluewater, 72, is the only person to have a lifetime tenancy on the roughly 370-acre, two-mile-long island.
Mr. Bluewater, 23 in 1971, saw the island and fell in love. With help from his parents, he purchased land on a high bluff for $7,000.
The Nature Conservancy and other environmental groups fought development of the island, and in 1982, Protection Island was designated a National Wildlife Refuge. The landowners were offered buyouts, and the handful of those who had already built homes were offered residencies for 15 years, 25 years or lifetime use. Mr. Bluewater was the only one who chose the lifelong option.
The island is now closed to the public, and boats without special permission must stay 200 feet away from the shore.