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Visitors Bureau Press Release


March 22, 2013

                                                                                                     Obama to Declare National Monument in the San Juans Islands


President Obama will designate 955 acres of beloved Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in the San Juan Islands of Washington State as a national monument on Monday. The culmination of over three years of grass-roots community effort by private citizens, local businesses, elected officials and members of Washington’s congressional delegation; the announcement was cause for local celebration.


U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, who tirelessly pursued the designation along with Sen. Patty Murray and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, issued this statement on Thursday, “From the bluffs on Stuart Island to Watmough Bay, the San Juan islands are home to some of our nation’s most beautiful and important natural resources. I applaud President Obama for making this designation and thank Secretary Salazar for his incredible leadership to protect this beloved region.”


National monument status will permanently protect lands already managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Properties extending into San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom counties include cultural sites used by local tribes for thousands of years and over 60 uninhabited islands, promontories and headlands, which provide exceptional wildlife habitat. Iconic lighthouses and recreational areas cherished by islanders and visitors include: 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. 


Monument status also assigns these lands to BLM's National Conservation Lands, which directs BLM to work closely with the local community on a management plan, and prevents potential development, or sale.


The designation is due largely to the unfailing efforts of Islanders for the San Juan Islands National Monument who created a committed coalition of stakeholders and politicians to pursue the designation, “Thank you, Mr. President,” said Asha Lela chair of the group, “We are grateful to now have permanent protection for these treasured BLM lands.” Follow the story on the group’s press page. 


The San Juan Islands will join the ranks of more than 100 other national monuments including the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon, and together with Mt. St. Helens and Hanford Reach, become the third national monument in Washington State.


Other National Monument sites designated for protection on Monday: Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers Monument in Ohio; First State National Monument in Delaware; Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland; Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico.


This is a lasting legacy for departing Secretary of the Interior Salazar who visited the San Juans on several occasions during the process. Without his leadership and vision these new gems in the national monument crown would not have been achieved.



Media contact:  Barbara Marrett

888.468.3701 ext. 6 or

San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau, Washington State