Last month, the San Juan County Hearing Examiner decided that conservancy land-use allows the county to make a 2 acre clear-cut and add a new parking lot, port-a-potties, and even electric lights to our little historic park here on Shaw Island.
The county code says any development in conservancy land must “…preserve indigenous plant and animal species and ecosystems in a natural state for the benefit of existing and future generations without precluding compatible human uses.” Is a 2 acre clear-cut a compatible human use? Obviously, no. A trail, yes. A small play field for picnics? There is already one there. But this? No. The plan to log the park is too destructive and too costly and undemocratic (since a large portion of Shaw Islanders and the people of the county who enjoy the park did not have a say).
How did this happen? In 2010, the county estimated the cost at $700,000 (for 2013 and 2014) for developing a plan from 2008 that was already too big for Shaw Island. A private citizen’s group here on Shaw claimed it would cost just $90,000, is proceeding to raise the money, chose an even larger size for the ball field and moved the site to the heart of a contiguous band of trees that separates the park from the road and the power lines. This planned clear-cut site is, ironically, adjacent to the “leave-no-trace” campsite of the Cascadia Marine Trail.
The parks department now has the permits. Even though the project overlaps the shoreline area, a shoreline development permit was not obtained, and it looks like one will not be obtained. The bulldozers are getting ready to roll as soon as the rains stop and the ground dries out.
For more information, please see: http://goo.gl/mHSsz.
Contact the parks director at email@example.com.
Contact the county council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friends and neighbors, let’s stop this short-sighted development that does deep and lasting damage to our public park on Shaw Island, and lasting damage to the meaning of conservancy.