San Juan Islands | KNKX

San Juan Islands

A whale watching boat, from a distance, watches one of several transient killer whales during a whale watching trip last month.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Experts and enthusiasts agree, whether on water or on land: it’s difficult to describe the feeling people get in the presence of orcas.

“I wish you could bottle what happens when people see whales,” said Donna Sandstrom, while passing out binoculars to passersby in West Seattle. “The sheer joy and the awe is always moving.”

courtesy Brandon Cadwell / National Park Service

Hot, dry weather is partly to blame for a wildfire in an unexpected place. At San Juan Island National Historical Park, hot metal debris from a historic weapons demonstration on Sunday caused a blaze that quickly spread across parched grassland prairie.

Bellamy Pailthorp / knkx

Two recently designated national monuments in Washington state are among those vulnerable under an executive order from President Donald Trump. Locals in the San Juan Islands say they would be shocked to see the federal protection undone.  

Lincoln Bormann / San Juan County Land Bank

When funds are tight, it might be tempting for government to try to raise taxes or fees. But what if you could just inspire people to opt in and pay extra to support something they love? That’s the idea behind a new campaign for a specialty license plate that would generate funds to support conservation lands in the San Juan Islands.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

This week, scientists are scouring shoreline habitat near Westcott Bay on San Juan Island, hunting for green crabs. The Washington Sea Grant Crab Team, with help from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, will set dozens of traps in an effort to learn more about the population of the invasive species. 

Scott McCarthy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife

An incredibly rare Northwest butterfly has been listed as a species that qualifies it for federal protection. It’s small, and at first glance, it's mostly white. It’s called the Island Marble butterfly. 

Vladimir / Flickr via Compfight

A small non-profit in the San Juan Islands has taken the lead in an international campaign to protect the Salish Sea from adverse effects of shipping.

Currently, proposals for 14 new or upgraded export facilities for fossil fuels in British Columbia and five in northwestern Washington could dramatically increase shipping traffic through local waters.

Paula Wissel

When you think of going whale watching, you probably envision taking a boat. But there’s a place on San Juan Island that’s considered one of the best places in the world to see killer whales from shore.

Photo by KenBungay / Flickr

A bill to establish a National Conservation Area that would give permanent protection 1,000 acres of unique landscapes in the San Juan Islands is wending its way through Congress. A key committee took up the legislation this afternoon. Senator Maria Cantwell told a panel, the bill would stave off the threat of future development.

Courtesy of San Juan Islands National Conservation Area

The San Juan Islands are known for pristine natural beauty that includes a national wildlife refuge and several remote state parks.  

But they also contain about 1,000 acres of federally owned land that has been largely forgotten by authorities. Some islanders fear it might be sold off to developers.

AP

KPLU Staff update at 4:32 pm, Monday

The light are on again for more than 9,000 Orcas Power and Light customers in the San Juan Islands. A late morning outage was caused by a problem at a substation operated by the Bonneville Power Administration.

In a short statement from Orcas Power and Light's website:

 

Power has been restored to all members with the exception of scattered areas of San Juan Island. Outage was caused by equipment failure at the BPA transmission station.