County Approves Theft of Guemes Island Public Park

Skagit County recently granted a Special Use Permit to itself for the theft of Young's Park. Public Works last year began cutting trees and using the park to store gravel and ditch spoils. Realizing that they should have gotten permits for that work, they applied and were retroactively blessed by the Planning Department.  Despite the permits, the County's actions still constitute the theft and repurpose of a public park.

The property for Young's Park was explicitly deeded to the City of Anacortes and then transferred to Skagit County (Anacortes City Council Resolution 480 - July 18, 1977) with the condition that it be used solely as a park..

The entire park is named in honor of Gerald Young, a respected community member and Medal of Honor recipient. Jerry accepted the naming of the park after him, in honor of all veterans, as the park would be a peaceful place where people could enjoy nature, in particular veterans and others recovering from PTSD.

Skagit County Public Works Department cleared more than 18,060 square feet of beautiful forest ripped up the soil and bulldozed the site to make a gravel storage area and road ditch spoils dumping site, all without first obtaining required permits. 

Skagit County unnecessarily sprayed herbicide on the forest, killing native plants important to pollinators and other wildlife, where there were no weed species present.  The site has now been overtaken by non-native, weed species.

Skagit County has dumped piles of ditch spoils on the site, without covering them or preventing erosion or runoff from running into an adjacent creek that flows into the Salish Sea. They have also dumped asphalt-saturated fabric over the entire site, posing additional risk of contaminated runoff.

Yadi Young writes: "The first time I heard that the park site was to be used to dump ditch spoils and store gravel, I felt that it was an incredible disrespect to the memory of my husband and the veterans that the park is meant to honor.  I feel this shows the level of value and respect that Skagit County has for veterans.  It felt like a blow to my heart.  I have the suspicion that no one in Skagit County is truly invested in honoring veterans. Now that the public use designation has been changed, from the original deeded designation to be used as a park and will used as a materials storage area, my suspicions are confirmed."

Almost 800 Guemes Island citizens have signed a petition asking the County to reverse their actions and restore the park to its former condition.

While the permit itself can be appealed (at some expense), the permit does not address the fact that Public Works had no right to do as they have done. Any appeal is likely to fail to address the sole purpose of the deed.

Please contact the Skagit Comissioners and Public Works to see if they'll correct this action and restore the property to what it was. If they do not, there are folks preparing a lawsuit.

Skagit County - Youngs Park SUP PL22-0603 HE Decision

GIPAC Notice of Appeal


Please help to offset the costs of GIPAC's appeal of the Young's Park permits. Donate online.