Should Lopez Island be Included in the Scenic Byway?

Next Wednesday, Lopez islanders will have the opportunity to revisit our participation in the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway. Created in 2009, the Scenic Byway program is designed to promote sustainable and conscientious tourism in the Islands by highlighting our cultural and natural heritage.

You may be wondering why Lopez Island is not currently part of the Byway. From what we have been able to determine, there was opposition to the idea at one public meeting held during the planning process. Even though a previous meeting had elicited support for the Byway, and despite the lack of opportunity of supporters to respond to this opposition, the decision was made to opt Lopez out of the Byway. Wednesday’s meeting will be an important opportunity to learn about the Byway, ask questions about how it is working on San Juan and Orcas, and voice your opinions on the idea of including Lopez.

If you are in support of the idea of having Lopez be part of the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway, please try to make this meeting and let your voice be heard. If the opposition is again successful in outvocalizing supporters, it’s very possible that our chance to be included in the Byway will be lost once again.

From the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway Partnership:

A discussion is planned for Wednesday, September 18 from 10am-12 noon at the Lopez Center to explore the possibility of adding a Lopez Island route to the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway. Join Byway Leader Deborah Hopkins Buchanan and Project Coordinator Liz Illg to have your questions answered about extending the Byway to Lopez Island. For more information contact Lopez Chamber Of Commerce at 468-4664.

“What is a Scenic Byway?

A scenic byway is a travelway with associated destinations that are distinctive and
recognized for their unique scenic, natural, archaeological, historical, cultural, and
recreational qualities. A byway evokes a sense of place and beckons travelers to
discover its hidden gems. A byway engages visitors through interpretation and education, while at the same time preserving and enhancing the unique qualities that draw these visitors. Byways may lead to spectacular places, or they may be very scenic and pleasant
local routes. A scenic byway is typically a corridor that has unique character and may be designated at the state or federal level, or both.”

—San Juan Islands Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan


3 thoughts on “Should Lopez Island be Included in the Scenic Byway?

  1. sjbrooksyoung

    All the more reason to at least consider participation in a program designed to encourage visitors to explore the islands using alternative modes of transportation. Like it or not, tourism is a large part of our local economy. We need to learn more before turning up our noses at what might be an opportunity to address a multitude of summer challenges.


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