Organizations that care for these lands
The San Juan Islands are no longer an undiscovered treasure. With over 700,000 visitors a year, tourism is here to stay and a key part of our local economy.
The San Juan Islands are a major tourist destination, making recent top lists in Sunset, the New York Times, National Geographic Traveller, USA Today, Forbes, Outside, Life and MSNBC. They are included in lists with names like World's Best Islands, 100 Places to see in Your Lifetime, Nine Islands offer Pristine Beaches and Abundant Wildlife, 10 Great Places to see animals in the wild, 10 Best Trips of Summer 2011, A Directory of Rare Wonders, and 10 great places for a North American safari. A sampling is listed by the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau, which can also connect you to everything you need for a wonderful visit.
There is one list that we'd like to see the islands move off of. The Islands are listed in the book 500 places to see before they disappear (Frommer's, 2009). We wish the San Juan Islands weren't endangered. Here are quotes from that book:
Here you'll find rare and endangered plants, such as the brittle cactus, the naked broomrape, and the golden paintbrush, alongside patches of ferns, mosses, and lichens, and old-growth forests of cedar, hemlock, yew, and alder. These tiny specialized habitats are often unrecognized, tucked away in crevices of coastal cliffs, in a patch of grassland or small stand of trees. They're not big enough to be marked as nature preserves - but the need to be preserved all the same.
Unfortunately, all this natural beauty may be the islands' undoing. The word is out...
Visit the San Juan Islands if at all possible - but be the best sort of visitor you can. Stay on walking paths, observe beach closures, moor your boat only at designated sites, and deal with eco-conscious tour groups. It's the least a nature lover can do.