March 22, 2012, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) urged Deputy Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Mike Pool to commit to extensive citizen involvement in the effort to protect federal land on the San Juan Islands. The exchange took place during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing about Cantwell’s legislation to designate 1,000 acres of federal land in the San Juan Islands as a National Conservation Area (NCA).
During the hearing, Cantwell asked: "Ok, and if this legislation was passed, obviously the management plan and implementation is critically important to the local community. How would the Bureau of Land Management commit to fostering a kind of community environment on the management? You know an advisory plan or drafting, or implementation, or management, how would that function work?"