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30 easements needed for paved trail from PIMC to Zylstra on San Juan Island

If all goes as planned by the Town and San Juan County Councils, there will be a 10-foot-wide 2.5 mile paved trail from Peace Island Medical Center  (PIMC) to Zylstra  Lake on San Juan Island.  The $6.6 million project includes $300,000  to purchase easements on 30 parcels. 


Zylstra Lake with a few swans near the far bank.  According to Phil Green, earlier in the day there were 49 swans on the lake. Sharon Kivisto photo

"Thanks to the unwavering support of Congressman Rick Larsen, the long planned for and much discussed Zylstra Lake trail is now a reality,” said County Manager Mike Thomas. “The Congressional appropriation will fund a 2.5 mile walking and cycling pathway where residents and visitors alike will be able to enjoy 285 acres of habitat and trails in a truly unique and unforgettable island setting.”

The reference to "much discussed" is likely to surprise neighbors and San Juan Valley Road residents who showed up at the lake during Rep. Larsen's visit to San Juan Island on January 20, 2023. Several of them expressed concern saying they hadn't heard about the trail  until last month. 

In April 2021, San Juan County Council adopted a resolution in favor of asking U.S. Rep Rick Larsen (WA-02) to obtain federal funds for a multi-modal trail from PIMC to Zylstra Lake.  The  U.S. Congressional House Transportation and Infrastructure  Committee was accepting requests to fund  Surface Transportation and Member Designated projects for specific highway and transit projects.

The resolution included seven whereases explaining the project.  Including: "a multi-modal trails from the Town of Friday Harbor to  Zylstra Lake Preserve would further the County's goals of building a safer and more accessible transportation network, strengthening our mulit-modal transportation system, supporting underserved communities, enhancing infrastructure, and  reducing pollution and pursuing environmental justice.

Both the Town of Friday Harbor Council and the county Council had earlier each passed resolutions declaring support for the project



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. 

1 comment

  • Bert Crane Thursday, 10 August 2023 14:03 Comment Link Report

    As a newcomer to this island, I’d like to find out more about the proposed Friday Harbor to Zylstra preserve trail. In particular, I was hoping to see a map with some details about the route. I was surprised that an internet search did not provide a detailed map or other specific information about such a controversial subject.

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