Community, tribal and federal leaders gathered in Anacortes Monday morning to celebrate the creation of the San Juan Islands National Monument.

The archipelago of more than 450 islands, rocks and pinnacles in the northern Puget Sound was one of five national monuments President Obama designated March 25. The local monument will protect some 1,000 acres of lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, preventing the islands from being sold or developed.

The monuments will help tell the story of significant people and extraordinary events in American history, as well as preserve natural resources for the enjoyment of generations to come, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said in a statement. The designations will serve as economic engines for the local communities through increased tourism and outdoor recreation and were made with bipartisan support from state and local officials, local businesses and other stakeholders.

Salazar attended Monday s ceremony and has plans to visit other newly dedicated monuments later this week.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Reps. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., and Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., were also in attendance. The trio wrote President Obama in late January, urging him to make this designation.

Another celebration for the monument was planned Monday afternoon on Lopez Island.
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