Dedication of the San Juan Islands National Monument

Vet Voice Foundation board member Rick Hegdahl was invited to be the guest of Sally and Tom Reeve and the local folks on Lopez Island this past Monday April 1st, to celebrate the dedication of the San Juan Islands National Monument. Attending the dedication and speaking to the standing-room only crowd at the Anacortes Senior Center were outgoing Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Senator Maria Cantwell and Reps Rick Larsen (WA-06) and Suzan DelBene (WA-01). San Juan County Council members Bob Jarman, Rick Hughes and Jamie Stephens were also on hand. The beautiful new official sign for the monument was also revealed.

One highlight of the dedication was when the government officials were upstaged by two teen members of the community who impressed the crowd with their short but heartfelt thanks to the community and leadership for their accomplishments.

Hegdahl was fortunate to have the ear of Sec. Salazar for a few moments and thanked him for his efforts on public lands issues and also shared the vision of the Vet Voice Foundation. Rick emphasized the Foundation's desire to see full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in order for National Parks and Monuments to be well cared for, so that all citizens of the world would continue to share in the wonders of the beautiful Washington outdoors.

Hegdahl also thanked Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Rick Larson (WA-06) for their efforts at the national level in support of their home state.

After the dedication of the monument, VIP's gathered at the Anacortes ferry terminal for a scenic ride across Puget Sound to Lopez Island.

After a short drive south across this scenic rural island the guests all assembled at Agate Beach Park for the tour guided by local activists and members of the community who worked for years to make this monument a reality.

Some braved the chilly waters, tempered by balmy spring weather, in tandem kayaks for tours of the water surrounding the monument. Others took off on foot to explore the beauty of this small but critical part of the San Juan Islands legacy. Those on the water were careful not to disturb the many harbor seals they came upon sunning themselves on the rocky outcroppings of Iceberg Point.

After returning to Agate Park the group continued on to the community center in Lopez for a standing-room only potluck that featured many wonderful dishes from the local citizens.

Everyone was encouraged to sign beautiful scenic prints of the surrounding areas that were thank you gifts to the leaders who guided the designation to it's fruition.

The attendees seemed to thoroughly enjoy their excursion and all seemed very proud of Washington State's new San Juan Islands National Monument.

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