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NOV. 7: Public hearing to add Zylstra trail to San Juan County's Transportation Plan

January 20, 2023, when speaking to about a dozen neighbors surprised and upset by news of the proposed Zylstra trail on San Juan Island, Rep. Rick Larsen told them the project shouldn't surprise them. After all, he said it was on the County's Six-Year Transportation Plan. Apparently Larsen was misinformed by San Juan County administration.

Today, Tuesday, November 7, 2023, San Juan County Council is holding a public hearing before adopting the Six-Year-Transportation Plan. It is adopted annually after a required public hearing. 

The Zylstra Trail is the number one priority on the draft updated TIP. This is the first time it has ever appeared on the plan. 

Project Objective:

-Construct a safe and accessible non-motorized transportation corridor between the Town of Friday Harbor and the San Juan County Land Bank’s Zylstra Lake Preserve.

-Connect the ferry-accessed population hub of Friday Harbor to a publicly accessible natural preserve, as well as provide connectivity between the homes in the Zylstra Lake area and the businesses and services in the Town of Friday Harbor.

-Reduce vehicle trips and associated congestion and emissions by providing a safe alternative to driving on a high volume corridor.

Project Need:

-The highly traveled corridor (for bikes, pedestrians, and motorists) between the Town of Friday Harbor and the Zylstra Lake Preserve area does not currently encompass safe non-motorized transportation infrastructure or facilities

 -San Juan Island does not have a comprehensive network of non-motorized transportation opportunities for residents and visitors who desire to recreate and commute to and from the hub of Friday Harbor safely -Roads are congested with the current volume of motorists and cyclists/pedestrians, which creates dangers for both motorists and cyclists/pedestrians

Public testimony will be taken on five public hearings scheduled from 9:15 to 10 am.  November 7 in the Legislative hearing room at 55 Second Street in Friday Harbor.  The TIP is the fourth one on the list.

[Editor's Note: I think public testimony for the public hearings does not require signing up by 9 am. That requirement is for the public comment portion of the meeting that occurs at the beginning of the regular meeting.]

9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.  


  1. To consider adopting an Ordinance of San Juan County, Washington Setting the Property  Tax Levy for Land Conservation Futures for 2024, Mike Thomas – County Manager.  
  2. To consider adopting an Ordinance of San Juan County, Washington Setting the Property Tax Levy for County Roads for 2024, Mike Thomas – County Manager.  
  3. To consider adopting an Ordinance of San Juan County, Washington Setting the  Property Tax Levy for Current Expense for 2024, Mike Thomas – County Manager.  
  4. 4. To consider approving a Resolution for the Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program  2024-2029, Colin Huntemer – Director of Public Works.  
  5. To consider approving a Resolution for the 2024 Annual Construction Program, Colin  Huntemer – Director of Public Works.  

Live Stream  


To call in for Public Comment  

Sign Up by 9am to make public comment at  https://apps2.sanjuanco.com/Council/CouncilMeeting CommunitySignUp/signup.php 


Call in at 9am to join meeting via telephone:  +1 360-726-3293 

Phone Conference ID: 891 968 338#


The county was awarded a $5.28 million earmark for the multi-modal project from the federal government at the request of U.S. Representative Rick Larsen. One of the requirements of the grant was that the project was part of the county's TIP. The county applied for the grant despite this requirement not being met.

The application also asks: Any known or anticipated community concerns associated with this project?   The county's answer: The county is unaware of any concerns with the project. The trail will be within the county right-of-way which will eliminate the need to acquire private property.

According to county documents, 30 easements are expected to be required for the project. 

The following information was presented in January.


Begins in Town at the hospital and ends at the Land Bank Preserve

Paved 10-foot trail surface residing in a new 30-foot right of way easement

Three-year expedited project schedule


Project Management |  $180,000 | Two years

Design Services  |  $500,000  |  By consultant

Permitting Services  |  $150,000  |  By consultant

Right of Way

Project Management |  $ 60,000 |  Concurrent with Engineering

Acquisition Services  |  $300,000  |  30 Parcels @ $10,000 / Parcel

Acquisition Costs  |  $450,000  |  11 Acres @ $35,000 / Acre + improvements


Project Management |  $120,000  |  One year

Inspection Services  |  $350,000  |  $7 Months  @ $50,000 / Month

Construction  |  $3,600,000  |  3 Miles @ $1,200,000 / Mile

Wetland Mitigation  |  $140,000 On Land Bank property

Subtotal  |  $6,000,000

10% Contingency |  $600,000

Project Estimate |  $6,600,000

The grant is for $5.28 million. According to the resolution, the county will use county road funds to make up the difference between  the grant amount and the final cost. 



  • Issa Wild Wednesday, 08 November 2023 11:53 Comment Link Report

    I hope it goes through and sets a model for Orcas Island as well. These days, pasture is by no means the key income source for any land owner.

    We desperately need a non-motorized trail system, and or wider shoulders, from the ferry terminal to Eastsound in sections where it's missing.

    Currently we witness and navigate horrendous risk to bicyclists, local and tourist alike daily. It's shocking this isn't a major issue being discussed seriously.

  • walt cooter Wednesday, 08 November 2023 06:25 Comment Link Report

    poorly thought out plan . does not take into consideration the wants of the people affected and is being bullied through over the objections of the residents for the benefit of the tourist industry. big brother at its worst. 5.8 million could put a lot of wider shoulders on our congested roadways.

  • Rene Polda Tuesday, 07 November 2023 13:06 Comment Link Report

    Land owners along the route, where the proposed trails would go, have all placed signs on their property in opposition of the trails. However, it is a super kind gesture of the County to build bicycle trails for all the hundreds of thousands of tourists that love to ride their bikes here. Too bad the farmland owners will suffer the consequences of increased volumes of tourists riding through their farms.

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