Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Road ends are public property


Regarding Wonn Road and Mr. Kirkpatrick’s letter of April 5.

He states “About every 10 years the public makes a run at gaining beach access they don’t have a right to” and “We prevailed in every challenge.”

Here are the facts:

Since 1910, Wonn Road (then called Greenbank Road) was a public road leading to a ferry dock whose pilings are still visible. In 1944, Greenbank Beach Plat dedicated all roads within the plat boundaries (then North Bluff and Greenbank roads) “to the public forever.”

Washington State law declares the roads abutting bodies of water belong to the public and cannot be vacated.

The Greenbank Beach Plat assigned the tidelands at the end of Wonn Road to the public. The private upland parcels were assigned the tidelands east of their lots. Lot 17, at one time owned by Mr. Kirkpatrick, was not assigned the tidelands at the east end of Wonn Road.

In 1972, in response to an inquiry from the Island County deputy prosecuting attorney, the State of Washington Attorney General stated in a formal legal opinion (AGLO 1972 No.2) that the county is forbidden from negotiating an exchange of properties.

The Wonn Road matter should have been settled long ago. Due to county inaction, it was not. Fortunately, vigilant citizens have not forgotten. Over the years a dedicated group has worked to insure that public roads ending at beaches remain open to the public.

Although Mr. Kirkpatrick states that he prevailed at every challenge, there was never a formal adjudication of the matter.

Now it is time for the court to decide this matter with full awareness of all the facts.



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