Two National Monument celebrations, on Monday

Two parties will be held Monday, April 1, to celebrate San Juan Islands recent designation as a National Monument.

The first will take place at the senior center in Anacortes, 1701 22nd Street, beginning at 10 a.m., followed by a celebration at the Lopez Center, on Lopez Island, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend either or both events.

Federal, local and congressional leaders who spearheaded the National Monument effort will be on hand at both parties. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazer, who oversees the Bureau of Land Management, will host the celebration at Anacortes senior center. Senator Maria Cantwell and Congressman Rick Larsen (D-Everett) are expected to attend as well.

On March 25, President Obama designated more than 1,000 acres on dozens of the San Juan Islands, all administered by the BLM, as National Conservation Lands. That designation, under the 1906 Antiquities Act, means that the BLM lands in the San Juans join 103 other parcels of public lands as National Monuments, allowing for a greater level of protection from activities or development that might alter the landscapes as they now exist.

"I look forward to seeing you on Monday morning to celebrate this great milestone that you all have been so instrumental in achieving," Salazar said in a prepared statement. "I regret that time and resource restrictions won't allow me to make it all the way to the San Juan Islands on this trip, but I look forward to spending time there, at one of our nation's greatest crown jewels, in the future."

The party on Lopez, hosted by local monument supporters, will feature a community celebration and potluck, with entertainment and an opportunity to put your signature on a poster that will be distributed to officials who turned the National Monument proposal into a reality.


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