Parks, Trails & Natural Areas Plan

2016 Plan update and adoption by reference into the SJC Comprehensive Plan

The Parks, Trails and Natural Areas Plan (PTNA) provides direction for the development, management and acquisition of parks, trails, non-motorized transportation facilities, and natural areas for the Parks & Fair Department, Land Bank, and Public Works Departments of the County. This document is designed to maintain San Juan County’s eligibility for state-based park and recreation grant funding. The PTNA provides a long-term vision and six-year plan to guide action and investment in a wide variety of outdoor spaces and facilities managed by San Juan County.

From January to April 2016, the San Juan County Parks and Fair Department, Public Works Department, and Land Bank worked with a team from Cascadia Consulting Group to carry out a dynamic public engagement process to inform the update of the PTNA. The process included conducting a statistically significant survey and interacting directly with residents at four open houses, one on each of the ferry-served islands (San Juan, Orcas, Lopez, and Shaw).

This process revealed the key trends and specific findings related to residents’ stated needs, and is intended to be used to ensure that investments and actions outlined in the 2016-2022 Plan reflect community priorities. This information was used to update the plan goals, policies and action items.

New with this update is incorporation of the County's Non-Motorized Transportation Plan and amendments to the County’s Comprehensive Plan Transportation Element for consistency. In this update, general transportation polices related to nonmotorized transportation are retained in the Transportation Element and specific nonmotorized components of the existing Transportation Element are moved into an updated Parks, Trails and Natural Area Plan and Nonmotorized Plan.  This updated plan will be adopted by reference in the Transportation Element as part of the Comprehensive Plan.

This proposal eliminates duplication between the Transportation Element and the existing PTNA Plan including redundancies in the inventories, goals and policies, and financing and capital and transportation improvement plans.  

Attached below are copies of the staff report for the County Council’s October 10, 2016 meeting:

  • Staff report and Exhibit A (Draft ordinance) including Ordinance Exhibits A and B, the proposed Transportation Element amendments.
We hope you’ll take some time to read through these drafts, consider how the content affects your use of our local public lands, and take a few moments to comment. You may send e-mail comments to We will continue to accept public comments until County Council closes their public hearing.

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE for public participation, processing, and adoption:
  • October 10, 2016             County Council 2nd touch briefing
  • November 8, 2016           County Council public hearing
  • November 29, 2016         County Council adoption

Questions about the PTNA can be sent to Parks & Fair Director Dona Wuthnow at or by calling the Parks & Fair office at 378-8420. Questions about the transportation element of the Comprehensive Plan to Linda Kuller, Community Development Deputy Director at or 370-7572.

Check this page for further details on public hearings and other information.
You can view the existing Parks, Trails & Natural Areas Plan (2011-2016). (Adobe® Acrobat® file).