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LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Island County Comprehensive plan needs beach access signs
Recently I attended a hearing to give public input on the transportation element of Island County’s Comprehensive Plan. The “Comp Plan” serves as the policy document which will shape growth and development here over the next 20 years.
I wasn’t able to get on the agenda, but I believe all of us can support a request to include in the plan identification of public beach access points.
I am a resident of Island County, yet I get confused when I try to locate public access points to our shoreline where my grandson and I can go dig in the sand. I know from the book, “Getting to the Water’s Edge” that there are many public access points in Island County. I also know from organizations like IslandBeachAccess.org that many points are not in the book and not clearly identified.
I ought to be able to know without difficulty the locations of all of my public beach access points. Identifying these points with signage is the first step. The signage does not have to be huge, such as the very small signs along the path from the Sunnyside Cemetery in Coupeville to the bluff at Ebey’s Landing. These signs are so very small, yet they do the job. They tell me, and they signify to property owners in the vicinity of the path, that I am walking on a public right of way.
Clear signage not only helps me know where to go, it also helps me when I am in conversation with a landowner who may be misinformed or simply isn’t knowledgeable about any particular public access point. Signage makes things clear for me and nearby landowners.
Signage is missing from many locations, which are in fact road ends, and/or otherwise public access points. We must be accountable to all our residents. Everyone is better served — the walking public and the landowners in the vicinity — when beach access points are properly identified.