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YOU can help protect your national parks!

Help us reach our $401,000 goal by 12/31 so we can start 2015 strong defending them.

The national parks are yours.

Make your year-end, tax-deductible contribution to protect them today!

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Photo: National Park Service

San Juan Island National Historical Park

Center for the State of the Parks: Park Assessments

Published November 2007


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(PDF, 4.3 MB, 24 pages)

The San Juan Islands are an archipelago consisting of 172 islands off the coast of the state of Washington. Nearly equidistant between the mainland United States and Canada's Vancouver Island, the San Juan Islands were claimed by both the American and British governments in the early 19th century, a fact that prompted contention for several decades.

Citizens from both countries settled on San Juan Island, and an incident involving the death of a boar nearly resulted in armed conflict in 1859. Fortunately, before shots could be fired, senior officials from both governments were able to intervene and negotiate a cease fire in the dispute that became known as "The Pig War."

Both sides agreed to a joint occupation of the island until a diplomatic resolution could be made regarding the boundary. The American Camp grew on the south end of the island, while the British established their camp on the north end of the island.
Both nations occupied San Juan Island peacefully until German Kaiser Wilhelm I was chosen to decide ownership of the islands once and for all. On October 21, 1872, his committee ruled in favor of the United States.      

Nearly 100 years later, in 1966, Congress established San Juan Island National Historical Park to preserve and interpret the American and English Camps. This is the only unit of the National Park System dedicated to the peaceful resolution of conflict, giving it a unique role in teaching the history of our nation and its relationship with the world. 

According to an assessment by NPCA’s Center for State of the Parks, current overall conditions of San Juan Island National Historical Park's known cultural resources rated a "fair" score of 67 out of 100. Funds are needed to support maintenance and rehabilitation of historic structures as well as archaeological work. Natural resources received a "fair" score of 72 out of 100. Non-native rabbits and invasive plants are invading the park’s prairie.

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