Obama recently declared Chimney Rock in Colorado a national monument. Now he should do the same for the San Juan Islands.
The San Juan Islands are one of Washingtonian's favorite places to escape and reconnect with nature. The combination of reefs, beaches and pristine forests provide a unique habitat for nesting peregrine falcons, harbor seal pups and rare plants. This land also shelters significant historical landmarks from ancient fishing sites to pre-automation lighthouses.
Currently, about 1,000 acres of the San Juan Islands are managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Under their present designation these lands are not protected from activities like logging, mining and development. Over the years, other public land in the islands have faced threats of development and so far residents have been able to fight off every reckless proposal. But we cannot risk the exploitation of this precious land.
The San Juan Islands can be permanently protected. Under the Antiquities Act, the president has the power to protect federal land by declaring it a national monument. The law was created to preserve places of extreme ecological and historical importance and I believe the San Juan Islands definitely fit the bill.
President Obama should ensure that this priceless ecosystem is preserved for future generations by creating the San Juan Islands National Monument.