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Town prepped to crackdown on trespassing at Trout Lake
The Town of Friday Harbor is prepared to crackdown on trespassing at Trout Lake.
Footage from security cameras, recently installed to monitor activity the town's 600-acre drinking-water reservoir, reveals "significant" numbers of trespassers, engaged in a variety of activities, including swimming, hiking, horseback riding and dog-walking, in spite of No Trespassing signs posted on a locked gate at the entrance to the westside watershed, according to the town.
“We understand that Trout Lake is a very beautiful and pristine area, but has remained so because it is a protected watershed where access is restricted” town Administrator Duncan Wilson said in a press release. “The state Department of Health and the town are extremely concerned about this unauthorized intrusion into the watershed, especially during the summer months when the fire risk is so great.”
Duncan notes that San Juan Island fire department has restricted ability to combat a blaze in this area because of limited access into the watershed.
The state Department of Health's Steve Deem adds that fire in the watershed has potential to significantly impair the water system for years and could contaminate the lake with slurry that would jeopardize the provision of clean water to the community.
The town will request that the county prosecuting attorney's office bring charges against anyone who enters the watershed, with exception of those on official, town-approved business. A misdemeanor offense, second-degree trespass carries a potential penalty of up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.
The town intends to install new, larger warning signs near the restricted access points and to conduct inspections of the watershed throughout the week. The Town encourages those seeking scenic, and more appropriate, for outdoor activity to visit the San Juan Island Trails Committee website, at www.sanjuanislandtrails.org.