Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region


Located at the mouth of Discovery Bay in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The island is closed to the public to protect nesting seabirds and harbor seals.


  • 72 percent of the seabirds in Puget Sound nest on Protection Island.
  • Estimated 17,000 pairs of rhinoceros auklets nesting. Also nesting by glaucous-winged gulls, pelagic cormorants, tufted puffins, pigeon guillemots, double-crested cormorants, and black oystercatchers.
  • Pupping and hauling out area for harbor seals.
  • Bald eagles nest.


A 364-acre island covered with grass and low brush, small timbered area; has high sandy bluffs for seabird nesting, and low sandspits on two ends of the island.


  • Visitors may view the island from their boats, but the island itself is closed to public access. Commercial boat tours available at nearby marinas.
  • Visitors should stay at least 200 yards off shore to avoid flushing adult birds off their nests.


The 48-acre Zella M. Schultz Seabird Sanctuary (on the W end on the island) is managed by the Washington State Department of Wildlife.

In Memoriam

Eleanor Stopps, incredibly important in leading a campaign to create Protection Island NWR, passed away April 25, 2012.

The Protection Island Story, Port Townsend Marine Science Center

Last updated: April 30, 2012