On March 25, 2013 President Obama signed a proclamation creating the San Juan Islands National Monument to permanently protect the BLM Lands in the islands. This was the culmination of years of effort by the community and its elected leaders to ensure permanent protection of these lands. Follow the story on our press coverage page.
National monument status will permanently protect precious lands in the San Juan Islands. These sites, already managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), include recreational areas beloved by locals and visitors, cultural sites used by local tribes for thousands of years, historic lighthouses, disappearing habitat and much more.
National monument status assigns these lands to BLM's National Conservation Lands, which requires BLM to protect and preserve these lands, directs BLM to work closely with the local community on a management plan, and prevents potential exploitation, development, or sale of these sites.
The Conservation Lands assignment could also have been made by Congress, designating a national conservation area (NCA). Senator Cantwell, Senator Murray, Representative Larsen, and Representative DelBene introduced legislation to do just that in both the 112th and 113th Congress. Congressional gridlock is preventing action on that legislation, so the delegation joined the community in supporting presidential action to accomplish our goal of permanent protection of BLM lands in the San Juan Islands with a strong community voice in their management.
About These Lands
The BLM lands in the San Juan Islands include spectacular recreation lands, historic sites and rare habitat.
Visited by thousands of people annually, they are a key part of the landscape that defines the San Juan Islands.
Protecting these lands as a national monument was supported by our county governments, the governor, our congressional representatives, our senators, over 150 businesses and thousands of individuals.
National monuments and national conservation areas are managed as National Conservation Lands within BLM.
This gives them permanent protection, provides a set of priorities for BLM to use in managing the lands, gives the community a voice in their management and raises the visibility of the lands within BLM.