The Island Guardain
Locally Owned & Operated
360-378-4900 - PO Box 38, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
The Island Guardian is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists

The January 10th issue of the Journal included an excellent letter of opinion submitted by Mark Fishaut, titled Moving forward with the Land Bank (LB). Mark noted the Town to Zylstra Lake Trail (TZLT) fiasco as reason for review of the entire LB operation. The January 24th issue of the Journal included three rebuttals. Jim Skoog wrote “the mysterious Zylstra Lake Trails fiasco has absolutely nothing to do with the Land Bank”. Cynthia Brast wrote “The mysterious Zylstra Lake Trail was NOT a Land Bank projectand “The Land Bank is completely transparent with their purchases and finances”. Amanda Azous wrote “The Conservation Land Bank did not promote or pursue the Zylstra Lake Trail project”

Now look at pages 3, and 24-27 of San Juan County Parks, Trails, and Natural Areas Plan 2023-2028;


Seven members of the LB Commission are listed on Page 3. LB Director Lincoln Bormann is listed as a member of the Planning Team.

Page 24 lists 5 trail projects with Lincoln Bormann as the Key Contact for 4 of them. The LB is listed as a funding source. The 2nd listed project prescribes “increase long-distance trails and trail connections on all islands via cooperative agreements with landowners, with a target of 10 miles. Does this sound a lot like the TZLT project? It does to me and it doesn’t square with the statements of Jim Skoog, Cynthia Brast, and Amanda Azous or their assertions of transparency. Lincon Bormann is the Key Contact for four more projects on pages 25-27. Maybe the LB didn’t initiate the effort for federal funds for the TZLT but to say the LB had nothing to do with it, was not a LB project, and did not promote or pursue the project is disingenuous at best. LB fingerprints are all over trail development. After island residents and County Council soundly reject the TZLT the LB attempts to distance themselves from being a part of the TZLT. That’s the opposite of transparency. It’s a smoke screen that all can see through. And…It’s gonna resonate this November!!

Ron Whalen
San Juan Island