A report released today by the U.S. Department of the Interior has outlined an agenda for near-term Wilderness and Conservation Land designations. The report recommends the San Juan Islands, and 17 other “backcountry areas”, as deserving of congressional protections.

Rugged shoreline, like this parcel near Lopez Islands' Iceberg Point (owned by the BLM) could receive a National Conservation Area designation.

Community leaders have been seeking protections for the San Juan Islands for years. “We appreciate the Bureau of Land Management and Department of Interior’s recognition of the importance of protecting the proposed San Juan Islands National Conservation Area (NCA). We want to ensure that these lands receive the high degree of protection and stewardship they deserve. The National Conservation Area designation is a way to achieve this which honors the community’s desire to have direct input into the management of these lands. Our island environment is a unique complement to BLM’s special landscapes,” said Lopez Island resident and member of Islanders for San Juan Islands NCA member, Sally Reeve.