Lummi Island Ferry Dilemma

Home Inspector with King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

Here outside Bellingham, we have what you might call a bedroom community on Lummi Island. Lummi Island is a small island, part of the San Juan Islands. The last census, another one is going on now, put the population at 822. A real estate office on the island states that, as a result of the building boom a few years ago, there are now about 900 houses on the island.

I know, and have known over the years, many people who live on Lummi Island. They work in Bellingham and Whatcom County and take the ferry off the island a couple times, or more, per day. The ferry, the Whatcom Chief, has been operating from Gooseberry Point for as long as I can remember and that is a really long time.

Lummi island ferry, little chief -- King of the house home inspection 

It is a small ferry and the crossing takes about five minutes. Despite being small, it tends to handle the travelers most days. However, this might all be changing over the next five years. I have been following the newspaper stories in the Bellingham Herald. The county is at loggerheads with the Lummi tribe which actually has control of the land with the ferry terminal on the mainland side.

Lummi island terminal, king of the house home inspection

And the latest is that if the county wants to renew the lease on the terminal for another five years, then the tribe wants some improvements made. That sounds uneventful enough, but the other part of the story is that the tribe has said that at the end of five years the ferry terminal must be gone. At this point, county officials are scrambling and saying that they might have to move that terminal from the present location to another location that is closer to Bellingham but farther from Lummi. If they do that, it will turn that short ferry ride into a 50 minute trip. Presently, again, it only takes 10 minutes.

If this all comes to pass over the next five years, I think it could have a very negative impact on Lummi Island and the population over there. It sure would not help the real estate market if people could no longer count on quick transportation onto and off the island. They need good access for shopping, doctors visits, work, etc.

Lummi island shore, king of the house home inspection


Thanks for stopping by,

Steven L. Smith


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Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

I used to ride ferry a lot and it was such a pleasent ride and gave one time to think.

Nov 29, 2009 02:02 PM #1
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector


I enjoy ferries. It would strategically really change things here though if it became five times as long on the boat.

Nov 29, 2009 02:06 PM #2
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I would think that a long ride would be considered unsafe - rescue, hospital transport, etc.

Nov 29, 2009 03:38 PM #3
David Helm
Helm Home Inspections - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham, Wa. Licensed Home Insp

Maybe the prices on the island will go down and I could buy a place over there!

Nov 29, 2009 05:22 PM #4
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Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector
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