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Draft San Juan Islands Destination Management Plan includes mandatory parking passes for everyone

The goal of the 89-page draft San Juan Islands Destination Management Plan is sustainable tourism. In order to develop sustainability it is necessary to collect data showing the impact of visitation - the numbers of visitors, seasonal residents, bicyclists, boaters.

According to the plan: "It has been said one cannot manage what one does not measure. For the San Juan Islands there is a need for real-time indicators of visitation levels for each Island at key locations. Daily vehicles on each Island, numbers of vessels in select marinas, and number of visitors are the most useful metrics for measuring activity over time to inform decision-making. These monitoring activities, along with supportive, revenue-generating use permit programs, are outlined in the cooperative action plan."

The draft plan includes the following actions which would provide data and revenue. Both residents and visitors would be required to purchase the stickers.

Work with State legislators to establish a Salish Sea Marine Pass (along lines of Discovery Pass) whose proceeds would be used for the maintenance of marine facilities, moorings, and marine protection measures.

Establish a Boating Sticker program, similar to one proposed for cars and bikes, as the mechanism for enforcement. 

Require all cars to purchase and display an annual San Juan Islands Parking sticker. Permit must be displayed for each car on the Islands May through September. 2027 

Require all marine vessels to purchase and display an annual San Juan Islands Boating sticker. Permit must be displayed for each boating vessel on the Islands.

Require all bicyclists to purchase and display an annual San Juan Island Bike sticker.

How to share your view:

The public review period will be open August 22 - September 29, 2023 - Extended to October 31.

San Juan County residents are invited to provide input on the preliminary draft of the San Juan Islands Destination Management Plan.

View the Plan:
The preliminary draft of the SDMP may be viewed here

Submit comments:

- Via the Engage San Juan County platform - The platform includes FAQs, outline of process used to create draft plan, and a means to  Submit Feedback.  Please note that registration is required to comment on Engage.

- Email to tourism@sanjuanco.com(External link).


After public feedback is synthesized, the preliminary Plan will be reviewed by County Council, followed by a tribal engagement effort with Coast Salish Tribes who recognize the San Juan Islands as part of their ancestral territory to gather feedback and recommendations. A final draft will be brought to the County Council in 2024.


  • Nancy Lynch Friday, 27 October 2023 06:51 Comment Link Report

    Your proposal is an administrative nightmare. What is your plan to enforce this? What will it cost and who would do it?How would you use the funds?
    As an islander I feel you are placing unnecessary financial burden on residents who will not benefit from your proposal.

  • Don Scott Saturday, 21 October 2023 16:51 Comment Link Report

    I see that everyone here has echoed my thoughts! As it has been said, island residence pay more for all are goods that come in. We also pay property taxes that are going up regularly.To put “a fee” on the residence of San Juan Co is unfair.
    There has to be another answer to this!
    Side note!, I had a very good conversation with one of our county council today. She explained the thought behind what has been proposed. Was very receptive too the things I mentioned.

  • Laura Long Friday, 20 October 2023 08:56 Comment Link Report

    Any fee proposal must have an analysis of the amount needed, The estimated population taxed, the rate of the tax, the estimated revenue, the method and cosst of issuance and enforcement and the net income. These estimates and methods are necessary to determine if the proposal is feasible. Then ask the public if the proposal is acceptable.

  • Keith Christenson Saturday, 16 September 2023 10:10 Comment Link Report

    We already pay a healthy tabs tax that goes to? As boaters we don't use the roads but pay license fees of $1100 for us .. We pay .30 cents/ gal road tax for a road we don't use and, even though it's said we can send in receipts to get refunded we have yet to receive out refund from 2020 for such tax. As stated, the waterways are federal. Washington had the highest fuel tax around already and some of the worst roads. We pay $2.50-3.00/ft to stay in our own boat at the local marina as well. We pay enough and would like to see where exactly the money were already spending goes related to our waters.

  • John Miller Wednesday, 13 September 2023 09:07 Comment Link Report

    I agree with Bill Cumming. Residents shouldn’t be charged for problems caused by large influx of tourists.
    Additionally, I personally am not dependent on tourism but rather am inconvenienced by it.
    I think a fee/ tax for bicycles use of the islands would be more beneficial to all residents .

    I have a documented boat in the San Juans but still pay the fee to the state for their sticker…..that’s enough!

  • Robert d Cantrill Tuesday, 12 September 2023 09:38 Comment Link Report

    I have two vehicles in which will leave the island if you propose that tax really think it's time for a change of politicians wonder if I could get enough votes to have you all recalled

  • PETER DELORENZI Tuesday, 12 September 2023 08:49 Comment Link Report

    We already have a means of restricting the number of visitors/vehicles. It is the WSF.

  • Richard M Monday, 11 September 2023 16:14 Comment Link Report

    All these passes and stickers are nothing more than a revenue grab for the state and the county. Boaters already support the maintenance of marine facilities with plenty of fees. Stop pretending to solve a problem by throwing money at it. This looks like an effort to turn a public treasure into a private playground controlled by and for the rich and connected, at the expense of those who can least afford it.

  • Tola Marts Monday, 11 September 2023 11:15 Comment Link Report

    As a regular visitor to the SJI, both on shore and afloat, I'm fine with paying for the impacts of my tourism. Boats and cars have impacts. But I don't understand taxing bicycles. Surely the bicycles have no direct infrastructure impact other than the butts in hotels/rentals, and that could/should be addressed w a lodging tax?

  • Steven Cartagena Monday, 11 September 2023 09:20 Comment Link Report

    Maybe all residents should have a mandatory tattoo on their forehead. About as ridiculous as the rest of all this BS.

  • Barbara Sunday, 10 September 2023 15:36 Comment Link Report

    With all the businesses closing in town and the ferry system a mess this is just one more thing to keep visitors from visiting the San Juan Islands and supporting our local businesses. This is the last thing we need at this time..

  • Nam Sunday, 10 September 2023 12:58 Comment Link Report

    More taxes and regulations. Stink like hell (and probably not legal? too) since the waters are federal water ways.

    About the mooring bouys, I consider them a waste of limited resources especially outside of the summer rushes and long holiday weekends, taking up premium spaces we cannot drop anchor for a quick rest without the hassle of dinghying ashore and pay. Sure, they are convenient for smaller boats who often rely on them exclusively but with restrictions, they aren't of much use for bigger boats or experienced boaters who trust and regularly use their own ground tackles.

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