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Posted on: November 27, 2023

Repeated Vandalism Forces Land Bank to Remove Toilet at Zylstra Lake Preserve

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SAN JUAN COUNTY, WA. November 27, 2023 – The Conservation Land Bank made the difficult decision to close and remove the public restroom at Zylstra Lake Preserve due to excessive vandalism. Facing repetitive repair costs and continued misuse, the portable toilet was removed from the property on October 20, 2023.  

“Starr Excavation and Septic has been quick to respond and replace the damaged equipment over the past year,” said Land Bank's fiscal clerk, Aaron Rock. “Unfortunately, the numbers don’t pan out to continue replacing broken equipment.”

Within the last year, the portable toilet at Zylstra Lake Preserve has been replaced three times due to incidents including a firecracker tossed into and exploding inside the facility, the toilet seat ripped off, garbage strewn on and around the seat, and the ubiquitous blue liquid splattered on walls and floor. Misuse of the facility, such as throwing trash in the tank, creates costly issues as well.

Staff is exploring other options; in the meantime, in the absence of a portable toiled at Zylstra Lake, visitors are encouraged to use restroom facilities elsewhere before or after visiting the preserve.

“Zylstra has become a favorite spot for me and other moms to meet up with our kids,” said San Juan Island parent, Elena Porten. “The vandalism of the portable toilet in the parking area is disappointing. As a parent of two under the age of ten, the option of a restroom in the parking area has been an appreciated benefit to our visits."

The Land Bank thanks and appreciates Starr Excavation and Septic for their great service and speedy replacements at Zylstra Lake Preserve.

Media Contact: Tanja Williamson, Outreach/Volunteer Coordinator,, 360-378-4402

 About San Juan County’s Conservation Land Bank

San Juan County’s Conservation Land Bank, funded by a 1% real estate excise tax paid by purchasers of property at closing, acquires and protects special places in the Islands including coastlines, farmland, forests and wetlands. The department offices are located at 328 Caines Street, Friday Harbor, WA 98250. For more information about San Juan County’s Land Bank, visit



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