Good on President Obama for creating a San Juan Islands National Monument.
President Obama on Monday will create a 955-acre national monument in Washington’s scenic San Juan Islands, using his authority under the same 1906 law deployed by President Theodore Roosevelt to begin preservation of this state’s Olympic Mountains and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
The monument was championed by Western Washington lawmakers after legislation to create a National Conservation Area stalled in the Republican-controlled House Natural Resources Committee. Its chairman, Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., has not even bothered to hold a hearing on the proposal.
Both federal, state and local officials have backed the monument not just to protect unspoiled places in the San Juan archipelago, but for economic reasons. Preservation is no longer “locking up” land, but rather welcoming visitors. “A national monument increases recreation dramatically,” Ranker said.
It’s quite amazing, and a testament not just to the administration and the legislators who made it happen, but the activists as well.