Feb. 26-28: Learn why folks come to the islands

Local, state, and federal agencies that manage lands or recreation facilities in the San Juan Islands contracted with Confluence Research and Consulting for $87,380 to collect better information about use, impacts, visitors, and preferences for management. The  study addressed several questions related to San Juan Islands tourism, public lands, and recreation areas. The goal was to describe visitor experiences on San Juan Islands public lands, their trips, their opinions about impacts or problems, and their views on management actions that might be used to address problems.

The study included:

A survey of ferry passengers (visitors and residents)

Surveys of visitors to attraction sites (e.g., Lime Kiln State Park, Moran State Park, Shark Reef Sanctuary)

Counts and observations of use at attraction sites

An inventory of accommodations on the three main islands (San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez)

An analyses of visitation from WSF, other passenger ferries, airlines, and marinas

Information will be used when making decisions about development (campgrounds, lodging, roads, parking), recreation uses (boating, biking, trail networks), and ways to manage or better distribute use to enhance the quality or sustainability of visitor experiences. It is anticipated to result in more efficient cooperative planning among recreation managers.

The study, funded through county lodging tax grant and National Park Service investment, is being conducted for several agencies (including San Juan County Parks, San Juan County Land Bank, San Juan Islands Visitor Bureau, Washington State Parks, WA State Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service) by Confluence Research and Consulting.

For more information about the study, contact Dr. Doug Whittaker at 907-346-3769 or Dona Wuthnow, Parks & Fair Director at 360-370-7452

Public Presentations - Highlights from the study will be presented at four public events as listed below. The presentations will run about 75 minutes, integrated with about 45 minutes of discussion.

Monday, February 26 from 9 to 11 a.m. Meeting with County Council, Friday Harbor, San Juan

Monday, February 26 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Senior Center, Eastsound, Orcas

Tuesday, February 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Grace Episcopal Church, Lopez Village, Lopez

Wednesday, February 28 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. San Juan Public Library, Friday Harbor, San Juan

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