Rules and Regulations

PL-SAND-Lambert

Keep in mind wildlife comes first on National Wildlife Refuges.  Public access to the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge is very limited. Regulations are in place to protect plants and animals while allowing people an opportunity to enjoy this unique resource.  Please respect the rules as you enjoy your visit.


General

Turn and Matia Islands are the only units open to the public within the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The remaining 81 rocks, reefs, and islands are closed to public entry year-round to provide undisturbed habitat for wildlife. Currently the campgrounds on Turn and Matia Islands are managed as State Marine Parks under a mutual agreement with Washington State Parks. Visitors must stay 200 yards from the shore of all other closed rocks, reefs, and islands in the Refuge. Where possible, these islands are marked with refuge signage.

Matia Island

Camping: Matia has six primitive campsites and one additional picnic site, all with picnic tables. In addition, Matia has a composting public toilet, two seasonal mooring buoys, and a seasonal dock located in Rolfe Cove. Consult the Washington State Park website for more information on campground regulations. Camping is not allowed outside of the designated sites.

Pets: Pets are not allowed anywhere on the island.

Campfires: Open fire as well as wood gathering is not allowed any place on the island. Only liquid fuel or gel camp stoves are allowed in the campground.

Food Storage: Food should be stored in animal-proof containers. Crows, jays, and raccoons on the island can be aggressive and have been known to open food containers. Feeding animals, either purposefully or through neglectful food storage, is not allowed.

Hiking: With the exception of the campground area at Rolfe Cove and the loop trail the island is closed to public access and use, to protect habitat and wildlife.

Beach Use: With the exception of Rolfe Cove, all beaches on the island are closed to public use.

Boat Landing: Boats are only allowed to land at the Rolfe Cove dock and beach. All other shoreline on the island is closed to public use.

Marine Mammals: Harbor seals and their pups rest on Refuge shores and should not be approached or disturbed. They are protected by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Turn Island

Camping: Turn has eight primitive campsites and a picnic site, all with picnic tables. In addition, Turn has two composting toilets and three seasonal mooring buoys. Consult the Washington State Park website for more information on campground regulations. Camping is not allowed outside of the designated sites.

Pets: Pets are not allowed anywhere on the island.

Campfires: Open fire as well as wood gathering is not allowed any place on the island. Only liquid fuel or gel camp stoves are allowed in the campground.

Food Storage: Food should be stored in animal-proof containers. Raccoons, crows and jays on the island can be aggressive -- raccoons have been known to open coolers. Feeding wildlife, either purposefully or through neglectful food storage, is not allowed.

Hiking: A short 0.9-mile trail encircles the island, passing through a variety habitats from rocky shorelines to meadows to mixed forests and allows for many opportunities to view wildlife. Stay on the trail to prevent degradation of the fragile island environment.

Beach Use: The southwest portion of the island has an extensive open beach area suitable for observing aquatic species and landing small craft. The shoreline outside of the beach areas is available for wildlife viewing and photography from the water but is not open to the public.

Boat Landing: The southwest beach in the vicinity of the campground is open to boat landing. All other shoreline on the island is closed to public use.

Fishing: Fishing is allowed from the shoreline in the area open to public use. Follow state of Washington fishing regulations.

Marine Mammals: Harbor seals and their pups rest on Refuge shores and should not be approached or disturbed. They are protected by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.