From the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau
The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) has joined 150 local businesses, the San Juan County Council, League of Women Voters, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, Governor Christine Gregoire, the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau, Islanders for the San Juan Islands National Conservation Area and other community leaders in encouraging permanent protection for 955 acres of Bureau of Land Management public-lands in the islands through presidential proclamation as a National Monument.
Suzanne Fletcher, Executive Director of WTA, (WTA is the group that replaced the Washington State Tourism office after its closure last year) stated in a letter to President Obama, “This month, the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine rated Washington State’s San Juan Islands among the top five U.S. and Canada island destinations…designating lands on these islands a National Monument would inspire tourism and economic activity. Already, tourism supports one in every eight Washington State jobs. By exercising your authority under the Antiquities Act to protect the San Juan Islands, visitors from around the country – and the world – will always have the opportunity to enjoy the islands’ natural and historic wonders.”
The Monument would preserve scenic views, flora and fauna, history, culture and beloved recreation areas. These lands include iconic lighthouses, tiny bays, rocky promontories and Patos Island. The San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau supports local input into the management of these lands, particularly in the area of visitor education.
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, who has worked hard to bring this issue to the attention of President Obama and is a frequent visitor to the islands, will be in the San Juan Islands the weekend of August 17-19.
President Obama has already declared and protected National Monuments in California and Virginia. Over 5,000 letters of support have been sent to the President regarding this issue.