Planning Commission Approved Vision Statement
Jefferson County, Washington encompasses 1,803 square miles, bound on the north and east by the shores of the vast Salish Sea, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Hood Canal to the southeast. The terrestrial borders of Jefferson County join with Clallam County to the north and west, and Mason and Grays Harbor Counties to the south.
Approximately 66% of the total County acreage is in public ownership. Jefferson County stretches across the Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest, and encompasses spectacular rainforests and mighty rivers including the Queets, Quinault, Hoh, Bogachiel, Quilcene, Dosewallips, Duckabush, and hundreds of miles of shoreline.
The first inhabitants of this vast region were indigenous people belonging to a number of different tribes who lived here for millennia. These groups of people still reside in our county and/or are granted treaty rights under the provisions of their “usual and accustomed areas” within our county and include the Chem-a-kum, S’Klallam, Klallam, Sko-ko-mish, Makah, Quinault, Quileute, and Hoh River tribes and nations.
Early settlements by newcomers began in the mid-1800s. Today’s towns and villages, rural crossroads, and tribal nations in Jefferson County grew from early-established footprints of urban, commercial, and cultural centers. Nearly thirty-thousand people live in small communities skirting the Olympic Mountains to the west and east.
As both refuge and destination, Jefferson County has stood out as a place where fishers, farmers, hunters, mariners, artists and artisans, foresters and outdoor enthusiasts, as well as independent and innovative entrepreneurs of every kind have survived and thrived in this rural wilderness we call our home.
Our Vision for 2038
The communities of Jefferson County embrace a balance of tradition and innovation while preserving the rural character of our land and lifestyles. Land use priorities have protected open spaces, forests, and farmland for long-term management and conservation, while also embracing innovations that foster opportunities for increased synergy between natural and built environments.
Low-impact techniques, localized bioremediation, and other innovations in housing and industry benefit overall ecosystem vitality and biodiversity while aiding ecological restoration and adapting to climate disruption. We believe that investing in our local economy, culture, and ecosystem yields benefits for current residents and future generations.
Our vibrant community fabric offers opportunity for all residents, including working-class individuals and families, as well as those who struggle to live, thrive, and age with dignity. Jefferson County values creativity and life-long learning and reveres constitutional rights, personal independence and privacy.
Jefferson County embraces our diversity. We respect and honor tribal treaty rights and tribal sovereignty. Policies are in place to ensure that government-to-government collaboration and consultation is regular and ongoing.
We value high-quality education, public services, and facilities. Emphasis on community spaces and networks of non-motorized trails, bike lanes, and paths encourages interactive communities of healthy individuals. Community members of all ages have access to safe and active environments, healthcare — including preventative, mental health, and long-term care — as well as fresh and abundant local food.
We enjoy a healthy and diverse local economy with wisely-considered economic development and balanced growth. Sectors including food system development, marine trades and craftsmanship, healthcare and education, resource management, high-tech and science-based trades, and sectors relating to tourism, art and cultural events, among others, support our robust economy. We believe that investing in human potential and the resilience of our local economy, including improved infrastructure networks, yields benefits for current residents and future generations.
We honor and respect the natural world as integral to our health and lifestyles. We protect our open spaces, shorelines, forests, clean air and clean water, wildlife and wildlife habitat so that future generations may also practice stewardship of the land, the seas, and the communities of Jefferson County.