Over the years, islanders have feasted on clams, hunted for deer, picked berries, dug bulbs, and fished waters teeming with salmon. They have plowed fertile valleys, seeding their fields with peas, oats, wheat, and barley. On gentle slopes they have planted large orchards with pears, plums, apples, and cherries. Their sheep and cattle once roamed at will.
Even today, island living is bounded by the seasons and centered around an easy-going sociability. It also signifies what it is to live in a climate of mutual respect and tolerance, however begrudging and hard earned. These are the qualities that bind us to one another and the land.
Islanders agree it is important to ensure that the distinct character of life in these islands will endure. As one way to do this, in 1990, they created San Juan County Land Bank. The program is guided by the San Juan County Ordinance (Chapter 16.54, Citizens Conservation Land Bank) and has been reauthorized twice since its inception, now extending to 2026.