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Top Ten Stories of 2013: No. 6; A ‘Monumental’ designation
More than 1,000 acres on dozens of the San Juan islands were designated as National Conservation Lands by President Barack Obama on March 25.
Second Congressional District Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Everett) and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell previously introduced legislation in Congress to designate about a thousand acres of land scattered through the San Juans as a National Conservation Area, but the bill stalled in Congress, leading them to ask President Obama to declare the lands as a National Monument by executive order under the Antiquities Act. Both the designation as a national monument and as a NCA drew the support of former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
Sally and Tom Reeve of Lopez Island and a dozen other islanders formed and led a citizen action group to promote the project, and several of them accompanied San Juan County Councilman Jamie Stevens to Washington, DC, to advance the cause.
The designation as National Conservation Lands under the Antiquities Act of 1906 means that the lands join 103 other parcels of public land as National Monuments. Although there are millions of acres of National Conservation Lands, National Monument status is “much more significant,” according to Meghan Kissell of the Conservation Lands Foundation.
— Colleen Armstrong