San Juan Island
Administrative History
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Interpretation and Visitor Use

The Pig War story offers many themes: the international settlement of a territorial boundary dispute as the frontier filled with settlers, miners, and entrepreneurs; diplomatic relations with Britain as frontier borders closed; a unique view into American and British military history, from political maneuvering within ranks to differences in camp structure and life; and an understanding of American and British settlers along the frontier's edge. Park resources also make possible interpretation concerning the patterns of life among Northwest Coast American Indians prior to European settlement. Beyond its historical resources, visitors can experience a variety of natural resources, from forest to prairie, clams to eagles, offering multiple environmental educational opportunities.

The main question for interpretation at the park has been determining what programming is possible with the staffing and funding available. The park has come to rely on a group of very dedicated volunteers, whose contributions range from providing evening lectures to maintaining the garden at English Camp, to being available at the park to give guided walks and speak with visitors. Increasingly, this is becoming the way of life across the park system, as budgets become tighter and managers have to find new ways of providing interpretation to the public. Interpretive planning documents have been completed for the park, but a small percentage of action items in those plans have actually been realized. In practice, interpretation has revolved around motivated individuals who pursued interpretive programs with the research, staff, and volunteers available to them.

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Last Updated: 19-Jan-2003