Mariette and I join with most of our neighbors, north and south of us (we are at 343 Eagles Roost) in opposing the purchase of the Clure property for public access to the beach at the foot of our properties creating a de facto public park.
Mariette, having grown up in Hawaii is accustomed to and in agreement with the concept of all beaches being public. So the law allows and property is bought and sold with that legal understanding.
This is not the case on Lopez Island. We buy and sell property with waterfront boundaries established by mean high water readings.
We are responsible for these properties in their full extent and we pay taxes accordingly.
We are also liable, as any attorney would agree, for any injury or mischance that takes place within our boundaries: falling off or being injured by logs, being attack by a dog, setting a fire that spreads, etc.
The beach and hillside are very fragile. Many of our properties, ours included, have experienced slides with rocks and trees being up rooted up and sent crashing to the beach below. Most of the slides are natural but people playing at the foot of the bank or trying to climb without a trail have dislodged the soil.
The high banks are covered with highly flammable grasses and plants. Thoughtless (though not basically evil) campers have started beach fires which mercifully have seen discovered and extinguished before spreading.
Most people keep their dogs on leash. But not all. And there have been moments of fear when young children were attacked.
All of these concerns arise from our many years (40) here. What we object to is the exacerbation of these concerns when the beach is considered public property.
Many people walk our beaches. Some are property owners and friends. But many are strangers who come to the beach in various ways and have always been welcomed and enjoyed as long as they respected the beach and others walking it.
Our fear is that making our property a de facto public park will bring hundreds of people, diminish the “pristine” nature of the land, discourage the presence of wildlife, both large and small and increasing the likelihood of damage and injury for which we would be responsible (We have heard no plan for monitoring and maintenance)
We would ask that in your deliberations concerning this purchase and its subsequent ramifications you would take seriously our objections based upon history and fact.
We trust in your good judgement.
Murray and Mariette Trelease