Letters to the Editor

Worthy program way undervalued by LTAC | Letters

I recently read that the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee overlooked the Youth Conservation Corps of Lopez, Orcas and San Juan when recommending grants for the coming year (“San Juan County Parks wins lion’s share of lodging fund,” May 22).

Each of the recipients of funds totaling $409,000 are worthy organizations.  Their missions enhance the islands for visitors and residents alike.

Similarly, the Youth Conservation Corps also makes a positive contribution to the visitor experience.

In years past, you could observe several crews throughout the islands in the summer months providing trail and recreation site maintenance, noxious weed eradication, litter collection, and beach clean up.

These collective efforts—in coordination with BLM, county Parks, the National Park Service, county Land Bank, SJ Preservation Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the SJ Noxious Weed Board—assist with the stewardship of our amazing public lands. Visitors and residents enjoy the fruits of their labors all throughout the year.

In turn, the youth participants gain invaluable work and educational experience. This exposure will serve them well as they prepare for further work opportunities and future leadership roles in government, business and the arts in our communities and beyond.

If we continue to support and expand this novel program, visitors to the San Juan Islands who are out enjoying our beautiful public spaces may encounter the youth work crews and marvel not only at the amazing natural surroundings of this archipelago, but also at how our island communities have taken positive steps to engage our youth with the stewardship of their unique environment.

Let’s ensure that all worthy and deserving causes are served by the lodging tax revenue.

Please join me in suggesting that at least a portion of these funds go to support this endeavor by contacting Bob Jarman, Jamie Stephens or Rick Hughes at council@co.san-juan.wa.us.

Alternatively—or perhaps in addition—consider making a personal, tax deductable contribution directly to the Youth Conservation Corps of Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan. You can go online at: lopezconservationcorps.org, or, madrona.org; or by mail to:  The Madrona Institute, P.O. Box 738, Friday Harbor, WA  98250.

Jennifer & Todd Kaden/San Juan Island


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