The primary mission of a port is to promote economic development within the port district. How it accomplishes this task depends upon its location, size, and the resources of the port district.
In Washington ports range from large international ports to small ports with limited facilities, like the Port of Illahee, which was established and organized when its dock was used to handle local commerce, which fit the economic requirement for ports at that time. When roads were built into Illahee the commerce use of the dock essentially ended, and the dock became primarily a recreational facility.
As the area within the port district has been built out, it is primarily residential with the exception of 120 acres which is zoned for commercial use along State Route 303. The port has not felt a need to promote economic development in this area because of the properties are highly desireable and accessible to the state highway.
With the establishment of a State Park in the 1930’s and a Kitsap County Heritage Park in 2001, coupled with Rolling Hills Golf Course, which became part of the Illahee Preserve, the port district has become an increasingly popular recreational destination.
Recreation has been recognized by ports and state government as an important economic development feature of commerce, and in 2007 tourism was specifically added as another way for ports to promote economic development. With few other commerce opportunities the Port of Illahee is left with the mission to support economic development through recreational and tourism opportunities both at the dock and within the port district.