Designation will protect natural beauty and stimulate economy
As a veteran of the United States Navy and Operation Iraqi Freedom, I am writing today to express my thanks to President Obama for designating the San Juan Islands as a national monument [“Obama creates San Juan Islands National Monument: read the proclamation,” seattletimes.com, March 25]. This designation will preserve and protect the natural beauty of the islands for generations to come.
More specifically, more than 1,000 acres of public land will continue to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management, ensuring that the wonder of the islands and all of the recreational opportunities it affords will continue. Citizens of not only our state, but all across America come to explore this beautiful land each year.
Also, thanks to Rep. Dave Reichert for his continued support of public lands, including his support of the Antiquities Act, which President Obama used to make this designation. Rep. Reichert also understands that public lands play a vital role to our economy. The Outdoor Industry Association estimates that outdoor recreation contributes more than $22.5 billion to Washington’s economy, which in turn supports more than 226,000 jobs in our state. This is welcome news to veterans who have had a difficult time transitioning into our economy upon leaving the military.
–Rick Hegdahl, United States Navy Reserve (retired), Bellevue