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Guest Column by Forsyth: Zystra Trail Is Path to Chaos

To animals, their space is their whole environment which extends well beyond artificial, human property lines. Resulting daily incursion of innocent petting zoo mentality will disrupt herd reproduction, milk production and eventually loss of farming activity. Trail users will, unknowingly, end up destroying what they came to see.

Unaware visitors making superficial decisions scare farmers. Some years ago, an island farmer near Bailer Hill and False Bay roads incurred a massive legal expense when a visitor turned in the farmer for animal neglect because it was in need of hoof trimming due to circumstances beyond the farmer’s control. Concern of several farmers is to sell now so to avoid their potential of financially destructing legal expense.

San Juan Valley Road is only 40’ across with two 10’ wide lanes and two 10’ drainage strips, now degraded to a substandard state that is currently in dire reconstruction need because of years of limited road maintenance funding preventing needed attention. Diverting limited year-round road maintenance funds towards summer visitor recreation should clearly demonstrate poor judgment because lack of sufficient study would have not allowed this proposal to have progressed this far—unless island farming has become inconsequential.

Appearance is no room for widening for bicycle lanes. Converting what presents as insignificant land to create the pathway on north side of San Juan Valley Road, in total, removes limited food growth for animals thus increasing, again, farming costs by ferrying hay and straw.

What I find most disturbing of this project is even greater than the project itself: It is how Island Rec is handling the discussion before this column was published. Island Rec is the oversight of the Trails Committee so are very knowledgeable of every step the Trails Committee should take—including trail design and the environment on which the trails step. Initial submission included, “Last, Island Rec is creating trails without providing any relief accommodation requiring trail users to urinate and defecate anywhere, in pubic, on private land, before passersby, daily. Where is there accountability?” Their response was essentially, “Not Island Rec’s problem.”

The trail from town to American Camp offers 5.7 mi. trail (measured by Google Earth) users no toileting where there are trees on private property—and without permission—trail users must at least urinate along this trail. The 3.7 mi. trail to Zylstra Lake is largely treeless. Island Rec, then, is to force Zylstra trail users to do personal needs in full view—and passing law enforcement is forced to cite innocent trail users. This appearing intentional blindness only exposes Island Rec to a suit from an angered visitor when cited for lack of a place for personal relief.

Welcome to the friendly San Juan Islands, complements of Island Rec where the right hand does not know—and clearly states it does not want to know—what the left hand is doing.

My opinion is a preempting suit needs filing so to stop all this nonsense.

Or just vote no.


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