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SJPT Press Release

March 21, 2013

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

CONTACT: Tim Seifert, Executive Director, San Juan Preservation Trust, 360-468-3202 (office), 360-317-5523 (cell) or tim@sjpt.org

 

Local Land Trusts Applaud Creation of San Juan Islands National Monument

Obama Designation Will Ensure Highest Level of Protection for Federal Lands in the San Juan Islands

 

SAN JUAN ISLANDS, WASHINGTON, March 21, 2013 – Responding to a community grassroots effort that began almost three years ago, the White House has indicated that President Obama is planning to create a new National Monument on lands currently owned by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the San Juan Islands of northwestern Washington State. This designation would apply to approximately 1,000 acres that are located throughout this archipelago that extends into San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom counties. These lands, which include over 60 uninhabited islands, headlands and lighthouse properties, provide exceptional wildlife habitat and some of the most popular recreation destinations in the region. Cattle Point (San Juan Island), Iceberg Point and Watmough Bight (Lopez Island), Turn Point (Stuart Island), Carter Point (the southern tip of Lummi Island) and Patos Island are just a few of many natural treasures that would be permanently protected by this presidential proclamation.

 

As the  non-profit land trusts that conserve land throughout the San Juan Islands, the goals of the Lummi Island Heritage Trust, the San Juan Preservation Trust and the Skagit Land Trust have been to ensure the highest level of protection for these important federal properties while providing a strong local voice in their management. This proclamation creating a new San Juan Islands National Monument will fully satisfy our objectives, and we are pleased to announce our enthusiastic support for this outcome.

 

Following resolutions from Skagit, San Juan, and Whatcom county elected leaderships, U.S. Representative Rick Larsen and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell both introduced legislation in September 2011 to create a San Juan Islands National Conservation Area (NCA). Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, whose department oversees the BLM, visited the islands on two occasions to gather public input and discuss options. Secretary Salazar then asked President Obama to consider a National Monument designation, an approach that has also received the endorsements from the counties and Governor Christine Gregoire. The San Juan Islands National Monument only includes land that is already under federal ownership - it does not apply to any private land in the islands, nor does it authorize any additional land acquisitions. The BLM will continue to manage these lands under their new National Monument status.

 

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