Community

Draft Parks, Trails, and Natural Areas Plan available for public review

Islanders can comment on a new plan for the parks, trails, and natural areas of San Juan County.

A draft of the plan that will guide action and investment in San Juan County’s outdoor spaces for the next six years has been completed and is now available for public review.

For the past 12 months, San Juan County Parks, Public Works, and Land Bank have worked with The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation non-profit, to develop the draft San Juan County Parks, Trails, and Natural Areas Plan 2011-16.

The plan identifies five top-tier priorities: trails, land protection, water access, stewardship and maintenance, and funding. The plan identifies nearly $15 million in capital projects and a range of specific actions to meet community needs over the next six years. The plan also establishes a collaborative mission for the three county departments and a long-term vision for the county’s parks system.

“It’s been wonderful to engage residents in this planning process to learn about what they want for their community. We’ve done our best to develop a plan that realistically responds to priority needs,” San Juan County Parks Director Dona Wuthnow said in a press release.

San Juan County Land Bank Executive Director Lincoln Bormann added, “We have learned a lot through this process, and we look forward to working with the community to implement this ambitious plan.”

The public may offer suggestions and comment on the draft plan until Aug. 27. The plan can be downloaded by visiting the county website and it may also be reviewed at the offices of San Juan County Parks, Public Works, and Land Bank in Friday Harbor.

Public comments can be submitted via e-mail to sjcparkplan@gmail.com or in written form to San Juan County Parks, Attn: Dona Wuthnow, 350 Court St. No. 8, Friday Harbor, WA 98250. The final plan is tentatively scheduled to go before the County Council for public hearing and approval in September.

“It’s been a great opportunity for TPL to work with the county on this project,” said Kitty Craig, Washington program manager for The Trust for Public Land. “Working together, we’ve developed a plan that captures community priorities and charts a clear future for the County; community support and collaboration is critical to its success.”

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