PRESIDENT Obama’s designation of federal land on the San Juan Islands as a national monument is a point of pride for the entire state.
The recognition and preservation of the natural, cultural and historic treasures on the Puget Sound archipelago is a triumph of community effort.
The San Juans were one of five national monuments designated by Obama, who used a presidential prerogative that dates to 1906. The others are in Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico and Ohio.
Here in Washington the nearly 1,000 acres of land will continue to be managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management. As noted by Margie Van Cleve, chairwoman of the Washington State Sierra Club, “This monument is good news for our community and our environment.”
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The united front to make this happen was impressive indeed. Washington Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray joined with Reps. Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene to preserve the land either through legislation or executive action.
Their efforts had the support of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who visited the area, Gov. Jay Inslee, former Gov. Chris Gregoire, councils and commissioners from San Juan, Whatcom and Skagit counties, the Samish Indian Nation, and state Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island.
More than a dozen state and county organizations signed on, as did more than 150 local businesses. The list of individual supporters goes on for pages.
These designations not only protect and preserve pieces of American history, and natural beauty.
“There’s no doubt that these monuments will serve as economic engines for the local communities through tourism, outdoor recreation — supporting economic growth and creating jobs,” Salazar said in a statement on Monday.
The San Juan Islands have always been a special place. Now it is official.