Journal of the San Juan Islands


A National Monument in the making

September 26, 2013 · Updated 3:34 PM

One of the many historic sites in the San Juan Islands National Monument, Patos Lighthouse sits at the water's edge of Haro Strait, with the grandeur of snow-capped Mount Baker in the backdrop. / Contributed photo/Tom Reeve

In the words of Marcia de Chadenedes, acting director of San Juan Islands National Monument, the process of developing a plan for newly created monument promises to be “lengthy,” even ponderous perhaps.

Maybe that’s to be expected when one takes into account that it consists of roughly 1,100 acres of non-contiguous land scattered throughout an archipelago of islands, and that those lands either together or individually are home to an assortment of historic, cultural and recreational sites, as well as a great deal of pristine natural habitat, or take into consideration that the Bureau of Land Management, entrusted now with creating a plan for one of the nation’s newest monuments, has developed a regimen for management of monument like the one in the San Juans only once before.

The California Coastal National Monument spans 1,100 miles, from Mexico to Oregon, and consists largely of islands, rocks, reefs and beaches. It just happens de Chadenedes worked on development of its management plan for three-plus years.

Challenges notwithstanding, the BLM will take its first steps in creating a plan for the San Juan Islands National Monument by hosting a series of public meetings: Thursday on Orcas, 6-8 p.m., at the senior center: Friday on Lopez, 6-8 p.m., at Woodmen Hall; and Friday on San Juan, 10 a.m to noon, at the Grange Hall.

De Chadenedes describes the meetings as “listening sessions”, wherein islanders, supporters as well as critics, can weigh in and have what they like to see happen with the monument included in the public record. “It’s everybody’s monument,” she says.

— Scott Rasmussen


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