Thoughts on tourism | Letters

Quickly, and without warning, a small group of islands has become the epitome of tourism. Thousands of new faces will walk these streets, use these roads and eat the islands’ food. We welcome these families with open arms, for we are kind and awash with hospitality.

This relationship — tourist to local — is not without its challenges. If you live on these islands, you are bound to experience frustration over the loss of your island’s peace and the uncertainty that large crowds on a small island brings.

To offset the footprint your vacationing leaves here, please encourage your families, friends, guests and pets to consider a voluntary tourism-tax of your choosing to be left with the people of the San Juan Islands. Feel free to leave your contribution with any local business, individual or organization or even a small heap of cash left on the sidewalk for the adventure donor! The concept is one of awareness to what it means to freely use this land, a land that is home to native San Juan islanders. Thank you for visiting, and please come back soon!

In other news, the public bathrooms in Eastsound are an embarrassment. It would not take much time, energy or finances to improve the overall quality of these public facilities. If there was a prison attached to these restrooms, then I would understand low partition walls, no toilet seats and no soap, but here on bucolic Orcas Island, where we are welcoming thousands of tourists each day to the island, our public restrooms must reflect the quality of life we all expect here. As a voting citizen of this county, I ask that less money be spent on repaving newly paved roads and more money put into public space.

Josh Culp

Orcas Island