Washington is famous for its gorgeous and abundant waterways, from the Salish Sea to the Nisqually River, but many communities lack open public beaches and waterfronts where everyone can enjoy picnicking, swimming, paddling, boating, and angling. Water Access projects fund public shoreline access, boat launches, and fishing docks to create more opportunities for water recreation.
The San Juan County Land Bank’s grant request is for the acquisition of nearly one mile of saltwater shoreline, tidelands, and 29.4 upland acres on Lopez Island. Acquisition of the Fisherman Bay Spit property will provide public access for passive (low-impact) water-related recreation while preserving a diversity of shoreline habitats, several recorded archeaological sites, and a magnificent natural landscape. The property was threatened by an approved five-lot subdivision when the Land Bank negotiated for its purchase in the fall of 2002. The spectacular sand spit at the entrance to Fisherman Bay is a prominent landmark within the renowned San Juan Islands. More than one-half million visitors come to the San Juan Islands annually. Many are seeking access to the shoreline and rich marine environment. While the San Juan Islands have nearly 440 miles of saltwater shoreline, less than five percent is available for public use. Recreational development of the Fisherman Bay Spit property will provide much needed public water access on the heavily-used Fisherman Bay adjacent to Lopez Village. The site offers beach access for walking, fishing, and kayak landing; hiking; picnicking; and opportunities to enjoy the natural and scenic beauty of the San Juan Islands. An existing dingy dock provides potential for small watercraft access and crabbing.