San Juan Islands - Unique Places in North America

View of some of the 176 named islands that make up the San Juan Islands National Monument.

San Juan Island National Monument is a 1,000 acres national Monument situated in the Salish Sea in the State of Washington in the US. The monument is made up of over 176 named islands which have low hills and a rough coastline giving it a beautiful and admirable scene. It was created by the then President Barack Obama in 2013, to protect the archeological sites of the Salish People, the relics of early European settlers in America in the Pacific Northwest, the lighthouse, and the biodiversity of the island and the whole region. The islands are managed and controlled by the Bureau of Land Management.


The San Juan Islands National Monument faces several threats, which include looting and destruction of the natural habitat. Before the declaration by the President in 2013, the local people and tourists took advantage of the freedom to collect natural, historical stones and other habitat, the roads used were not limited, and there was pollution of the environment. Secondly, the Monument faces threat from a reduction in its size by current president Donald Trump. Trump has plans to reduce and alter the monument size to only include regions with specific historical importance while the rest is to be open to the general public.


The San Juan Islands Monument has a pleasant and friendly environment for wildlife, sea animals, birds, and different types of vegetation. In Stuart and some other neighboring islands, they have a beautiful and unusual habitat where the forest, grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands are all found in the rocky part of the island. The forest and woodlands have a variety of ancient trees like camas and golden paintbrush. The habitat supports different kinds of wildlife which include black-tail deer, river otter, and mink, while the water habitat supports different kinds of water mammals such as seals and porpoises.


The San Juan Islands Monument is unique in its ways.The island was part of the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people who lived in the area which was their home for about 12,000 years ago. The islands have several archaeological remains of the Coast Salish villages, processing sites and camps that date several years back. The unique island marble butterfly is found in small numbers in the San Juan Islands.


The monument is an excellent destination for both local and international tourist. The tourists get to visit several archaeological sites and watch wildlife animals which include whales and sea lions. There is also a fun, and exciting experience seaplane drives across several islands with excellent and fantastic aerial views of the sites. Hiking and camping tours are also a typical tourist attraction along the islands-sea. Other common tourist attraction activities include boat tours, eco-tours, day trips, and multi-day tours. The most common and populous islands are Orcas Island, Lopes Island, Shaw Island, and San Juan Island.


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