In August of 2017, the National GPS Program Coordinator for the National Park Service joined San Juan Island National Historical Park (NHP) staff members to conduct geospatial surveys at both American Camp and English Camp—the two units of the park located at opposite ends of San Juan Island, Washington. After setting up base stations and additional markers at strategic points near the park’s numerous shorelines, the advanced spatial equipment used will allow park staff to inventory and monitor environmental change over time with an extremely high degree of precision—often within millimeters of accuracy.
Sea level rise, ecosystem exploitation, and unsustainable urban development are issues of increasing concern for cultural and natural resource managers throughout the San Juan Islands and Salish Sea engaged in the preservation and conservation of maritime heritage landscapes. With the arrival of European and American colonial settlers and the displacement of Coast Salish peoples from their traditional landscapes since the nineteenth century, maritime resources have been extracted as lucrative commodities. Voices calling for the preservation and conservation of shoreline ecosystems have challenged San Juan Island NHP to look for new ways to enhance and improve park management systems. The data collected will be used by researchers in years to come, primarily to monitor shoreline erosion and the health of landscapes that are critically endangered.
For more information on the Inventory and Monitoring Program at San Juan Island NPH, visit https://www.nps.gov/sajh/learn/nature/inventory-and-monitoring-program.htm.