San Juan Island
Administrative History
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CHAPTER 7:
Public and Interagency Relations


San Juan Island N.H.P. has a wide variety of relationships that impact the park and its operations. These relationships range from the local to the international community. For most of these groups, there exists a sense of ownership and stewardship of park resources.

San Juan Trail Riders

In 1987, this group approached the park requesting to ride horses in portions of American Camp. For the next year, this would be a thoroughly discussed issue between the park and the regional office. Superintendent Hoffman approved of the idea and put in a request to region for permission to begin a permit program allowing riding in designated areas. Although most of the regional office staff felt it was inappropriate use of the historic scene, Section 106 compliance was completed for specific park areas. Since the number of projected riders anticipated by the park was low and areas existed within the park that fit that type of visitor use, the program was approved.

The result was a relationship with a specific group of islanders who take responsibility for the ability to ride at American Camp. The group monitors its members, as well as non-members who ride in, around, or near the park, to make sure that park rules are observed.

Relations within the Service

The park also has come to rely heavily on other national parks, particularly Olympic and North Cascades. Olympic National Park superintendent Bennett Gale originally served as the NPS representative for San Juan from 1966 to 1969. Over the years, Olympic National Park fire management specialists have assisted the park in development of fire management planning and training. Today, Olympic National Park's fire management officer serves a dual role as the officer for both Olympic and San Juan Island N.H.P.

Between 1985-1986, the park maintained a cooperating agreement with North Cascades for assistance in a number of areas. In 1993, the park negotiated for storage of the archaeological collection previously housed at the University of Idaho. When storage no longer became an option at the university in Moscow, the park needed to find adequate space. Nowhere in the park is there a space of sufficient size and possessing the required climate and security controls necessary for collections storage. In exchange for storage in the North Cascades Marblemount facility, San Juan contributes towards the salary for the North Cascades collections manager. In addition, a collections storage agreement was arranged to store HBC-related materials at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Washington.

The park has also served other NPS sites. From 1986 to 1988, Superintendent Hoffman served as the NPS representative for Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve on Whidbey Island. On several occasions San Juan maintenance staff undertook projects needed at Ebey's Landing.

Canadians and Britain

At the April 1965 public hearing on the proposed park, Willard C. Ireland endorsed the park on behalf of British Columbia. Ireland kindly stated that had the decision of 1872 gone the other way, "this would have been a national historical site of Canada long ago." [1] Ireland's presence let the senate committee know that Canadians of the Vancouver Island region, and British Columbia, valued the site of English Camp as a part of their heritage, regardless of which country now owns it. The number one goal of Canadian groups, especially the Canadian Navy and Royal Marine leagues, is remembering the English Camp Cemetery. Unlike at American Camp, where the U.S. Army returned and disinterred remains at American Camp cemetery for transfer to a mainland army cemetery in Washington State, the English soldiers' bodies have remained on Young Hill. These soldiers died in the service of their country and were buried very far from it. For many years, Jim Crook was paid a stipend to maintain the cemetery, and services including memorial day, have been held over the years at the site to honor these men.

Having great interest in the site results in donations and visits to the place occasionally by international dignitaries. The International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians of Victoria in 1986 donated a new dinghy dock at English Camp. The dedication was celebrated as a part of SAJH 20. The group received special recognition for the donation and assistance to the park.

Over the past several years, the British consulate in Seattle has turned out to be a great supporter of the park. Consul Stephen Turner was helpful in obtaining and donating the Union Jack flag, which is flown at English Camp. This is one of the very few places outside of Great Britain with permission to fly the flag. In 1996, the park contacted Consul Michael Upton to see about the use of a portable display interpreting the Oregon Treaty. In response, Upton offered the park a permanent interpretive panel, created for Washington State's Peace Arch Memorial Park in Blaine, Washington, for use in the visitor's center at American Camp. Since the memorial in Blaine has yet to be built, Upton offered it to the park for use in the interim. Superintendent Scott accepted his offer, and the consulate drove the display to the island and assisted park staff in its installation. [2] In 1997, Upton arranged for $12,000 to be donated by the British government for the replacement of the deteriorated flagpole at English Camp. The new flagpole was dedicated in ceremonies held in August 1998. Attending the ceremonies were Consul Upton, Superintendent Scott, Deputy Regional Director Bill Walters, Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro, and British Royal Marine Lt. Col. Henk de Jager. More than 400 people attended.

These groups keep in touch with the park and monitor its activities. This is a constant reminder that the island was almost under British rule and a part of Canada, and that in 1872 many British citizens changed their citizenship, not so they could be Americans, but so they could remain in their homes. The island's British heritage remains important to many area residents to this day.

The Lummi

Daniel Boxenberger, in his ethnographic study of San Juan Island, reports the following contemporary groups have cultural affiliations with the island and with the park: federally recognized tribes include the Lummi, Klallam, and Swinomish; Canadian bands include the Songhees, Saanich, and Semiahmoo; and non-recognized tribes include the Samish, the San Juan Tribe of Indians, and the Mitchell Bay Tribe. [3]

Primarily, the park has had relations with the Lummi Indian Business Council. The Lummi believe Guss Island to be their point of origin into this world. [4] As discussed under archaeological resources, several burials were removed from Guss Island in Garrison Bay. In 1985 the park, with assistance from Jim Thomson and Kent Bush of the Pacific Northwest regional office, began negotiating for the return and reinternment of the burials to the Lummi. A Memorandum of Understanding was drafted with the council, calling for the park to provide a 30' x 30' space for the reburials. The Lummi were to provide the container and actually complete the reburial process. The agreement was signed and several remains reburied, although the container delivered to the site was never used and eventually disposed of by the park. Monitoring of remains at the park and relations with the Lummi have more recently been handled by Seattle Support Office anthropologist, Dr. Fred York.

Washington State

The park has had significant relations with different state organizations, but most specifically with the Department of Natural Resources which has lands adjoining the park. In addition, it is unclear if ownership and management of tidelands within park boundaries belongs to the park or to the state. Recent relations with the park include research to determine tideland ownership.

From 1989-92, San Juan carried a Memorandum of Agreement with the department for maintenance of their Griffin Bay and Cattle Point Recreational sites. In exchange for an annual payment of $10,000, the park maintained the state's visitor facilities. In 1988, the park signed a five-year cooperative agreement with DNR for joint cooperation in wildfire management.

San Juan County

The park has consistently maintained jurisdictional cooperative agreements with the San Juan County Sheriff and Rural Fire District #3. The fire district has participated in the park training programs and fire management planning.

Law enforcement at the park has always been relatively low key, involving vandalism, illegal hunting, and camping. Since lacking a year round, full time law enforcement ranger prior to 1992, actual law enforcement needs for years past are difficult to ascertain since case incident reporting was low to non-existent. Since the addition of law enforcement monitoring in 1992, case incident reports average 80 per year. A majority of incidents encountered by rangers are minor infractions such as unleashed pets and are not reported. Since 1994, incident reports have been decreasing due to greater ranger presence, better signage, and repair and placement of split-rail fencing and log barriers at South Beach to prevent unauthorized motor vehicle use. [5]

Park staff has routinely belonged to various community organizations and the Superintendent has served occasionally on the Chamber of Commerce and a variety of county appointed boards. Between 1986 and 1996, the American Camp headquarters served as a San Juan County election polling place.

Locally, the park has participated in the San Juan Salmon Cooperative since 1988. The goal of this group is to aid in restoring Chinook salmon runs. The park superintendent, chief ranger, and chief of maintenance have typically worked with the group, which runs a salmon fish hatchery.

Beginning in 1988, the county commissioners created a board to examine the preservation and recreational opportunities of the Old Military Road from American to English Camp. Commissioned by the San Juan County Public Works, Atelier ps, a landscape architect firm, developed a feasibility study for a public trail from American Camp to English Camp. The study involved two public open houses, which were well-attended, and a final plan produced four alternative routes. None of the proposals were well received by the public. Reporting on the second open house, the study states that some landowners felt just doing the feasibility study was an invasion of privacy in itself, more or less having the trail come through their property. Of concern to the public were fire hazards, crime, pollution, and invasion of private property. The trail alternatives varied from a historical route, which would have touched at least 50 private landowners, to a less historical route utilizing county road rights of way.

The park supported their portion of the trail, but stated that they could not support any alternative in which any of the landowners were not willing participants. The park also did not approve of the report being designed without public involvement or awareness. None of the alternatives were approved and the commissioners established the Citizen's Advisory Board to assist in continued trail planning. Park staff also serves on this board. By 1993, planning for a park-to-park trail had been discontinued in favor of a shorter segment connecting English Camp to nearby state department of natural resource property. Since selecting the shorter trail as the preferred alternative, the issue has been quiet. Park concerns regarding the plan center on the types of recreational use to be allowed, and the impact on the historic orchard at English Camp, which lay within the proposed route.


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Last Updated: 19-Jan-2003