Healthiest County

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According to a recent study, done at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, San Juan county beat out all the others in Washington as the healthiest county in the state. This study was based on how healthy residents are and how long they live. It considered health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment.

Does it feel healthy to live here? That’s an interesting question for someone who has lived here since 1977; therefore someone who is getting older. Still, the answer would have to be affirmative. I don’t think about how healthy the environment is until I remove myself from it. Washing my face at a Seattle hotel will quickly show the grime of a city on the pristine white washcloth. The air here might smell a bit salty when the tide is out at False Bay, but it doesn’t smell like exhaust fumes. It is quiet enough to allow for you to hear a bird’s song and the bee’s bumble, sometimes even the swoop of a raptor’s wings. At night, the stars are visible in a clear sky. And now, in June, the smell of freshly cut hay and the clunk-clunk of the bailer may greet you on a two lane valley road.

They say that as we get older, views and vistas become more important. San Juan Island Realtors do not even use the word “view” unless it relates to a salt water view; however there are many lovely mountain, pond, and territorial views as well. There are few island roads that do not give you a glimpse of the surrounding Salish Sea, reminding you that you are on an island. You feel a sense of community with the people on the isle where you live and a sense of protection and serenity that places you far from the maddening world. To my way of thinking, it’s healthy to live here in mind and body.

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