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About PLIC

A Brief History of PLIC (Protect Lummi Island Community)

When PLIC was initially organized in 2009, we as a community were caught in a seemingly impossible impasse between the Lummi Nation and Whatcom County over the renewal of the lease for the ferry landing.  We had no voice in a matter that would hugely impact all members of the Lummi Island community.

PLIC started as a grass roots organization to protect our community’s only source of access between the island and the mainland.  We worked together to raise funds to hire Legal Assistance and PR assistance to bring and keep the islanders needs for a negotiated solution to the lease renewal stalemate in the minds of County and Tribal officials, and when that was not enough brought the matter before state and federal officials.  Through this process, working relationships began to develop between PLIC and county officials.  The lease agreement and the formation of the Citizens’ Task Force for the Lummi Island Ferry in 2011 to study the entire fare structure and develop recommendations to keep the ferry operating and affordable for both users and the county were direct impacts of PLIC’s efforts on behalf of the community.

In 2012 PLIC’s board focused its efforts on working at the county level to continue to educate the new county executive about the work of the task force and to encourage the county council to implement the recommendations of the ferry task force.  The PLIC Board along with interested members of the Lummi Island community worked with council member Carl Weimer to draft the resolution that created the Lummi Island Ferry Advisory Committee (LIFAC).  Many PLIC board members and community members helped to identify and recruit applicants for the seven-member committee, which reports to the county council.  Through PLIC community meetings we kept members and the community aware of changes in Parking and Security at the Gooseberry Point terminal.  Impacts due to loss of fenced parking were discussed at PLIC community meetings.  Islanders were given early notice about the county’s position on reduced availability of dry dock parking through PLIC’s efforts and Islanders were able to make alternative plans to deal with the reduced number of spaces.

The PLIC Board designed and conducted a voluntary opinion survey of island residents about the issue of continuing to provide overnight security at Gooseberry Point.  From that survey it was determined that most islanders favor elimination of overnight security and the PLIC Board recommended providing security at Gooseberry only during hours of darkness during ferry operating hours.   At this point the county has eliminated security entirely at Gooseberry Point.  PLIC is continuing to monitor this issue.

In 2013, the PLIC Board established a sub-committee to review the need for and screening process for Needs-based ferry fares.  Their recommendations went into effect October 1, 2013 with screening now being handled by the Opportunity Council with new income guidelines adopted.  PLIC also analyzed the handicapped parking situation during dry dock, finding that there were 19 spots available at Gooseberry Point to fill the needs of 60 islanders with handicapped hang tags.  Most recently, the PLIC Board has recommended to LIFAC a special fare to allow an adult pedestrian to accompany young children on their ferry ride to the island’s Beach School.

Efforts in 2014 have focussed on encouraging LIFAC to establish an annual process of expense and income analysis and fare setting and to establish a long-range plan for the ferry and its replacement.  As such, several PLIC board members have joined the LIFAC subcommittees in support of these efforts.

In 2015, PLIC participated in the development and adoption of a set of revised and reduced ferry rates and supported Washington State Senate Bill 5307, which secured the Lummi Island Ferry’s eligibility for state revenues in the State transportation budget. We also continued to focus on long range ferry planning efforts including reviewing and commenting on draft chapters of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan update, the Ferry Replacement/Hiyu Report and the Level of Service Project Progress Report Part One. PLIC conducted a survey of members and found that Islanders are generally content with the status quo in terms of the ferry, but would prefer a ferry that is a little larger, but not too large, with the same character and better fuel efficiency. The survey also showed that members would like wider lanes to improve safety and accessibility as well as restrooms, especially at Gooseberry Point.

Board of Directors:

Stuart Rich, President

Janet Lutz-Smith, Vice –President

Mike Skehan – Secretary

Mike Kmiecik, Treasurer

Vacant, Community Outreach Liaison

Vacant, Communication

Vacant , Member at-large


Mission Statement:

PLIC formed as a Lummi Island community initiative dedicated to:

  • Supporting negotiations for vehicle and passenger ferry service between Lummi Island and Gooseberry Point;
  • Advocating for reasonable and affordable rates for the ferry service;
  • Advocating for non-reduction in the ferry schedule;
  • Providing Lummi Island residents, property owners and other stakeholders with current information concerning the Lummi Island Ferry negotiations and options;
  • Fostering regularly scheduled, open discussions within the community when issues arise relevant to the ferry service.
  • Developing consensus on issues;
  • Advocating for beneficial long-term, ferry related transportation plans.


PLIC ByLaws were approved on 3-2-2011 and serve to provide the ongoing structure of governance.  PLIC Bylaws