San Juan Country Parks recently announced that the Town of Friday Harbor Waste Facility will be closing this month. The announcement couches this in terms of “Leave No Trace” ethics for visitors to our islands. No alternative waste facility is available on San Juan Island.
As an avid backpacker, hiker and kayaker, I understand leave no trace ethics, and I understand how this might apply to vacationers, but what about residents, especially those that live in their RVs because they cannot afford to own or rent a home on San Juan Island? The cost of bringing an RV to the mainland and back on the ferry for the sole purpose of dumping waste tanks is prohibitive.
I am also concerned that residents or visitors may choose to dump their tanks onto public or private lands, given the lack of options on San Juan Island. This is both an environmental problem as well as a potential public health issue. How do we expect uninformed vacationing RVs with full waste tanks will deal with them?
I am disappointed with the Town and the County’s approach to this problem – let the mainland handle it. We need a local solution.