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San Juan Islands
National Wildlife Refuge

Northern Puget Sound
San Juan County, WA   
E-mail: Kevin_Ryan@fws.gov
Phone Number: 360-457-8451
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San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge

San Juan Islands Refuge consists of 83 rocks, reefs, grassy islands, and forested islands scattered throughout the San Juan Islands of northern Puget Sound. These islands, totaling almost 450 acres, were set aside to protect colonies of nesting seabirds, including pigeon guillemots, double-crested cormorants, and pelagic cormorants.

They also attract a variety of other wildlife, including bald eagles and harbor seals. In order to help maintain the natural character of these islands, all the refuge islands except Matia and Turn are closed to the public.

Getting There . . .
San Juan Islands Refuge is located on Northern Puget Sound. Best access to the islands is by boat from Anacortes or Friday Harbor. Several of the refuge islands can be viewed from Washington State Ferries that traverse the area. Write for map and regulations.

Matia Island State Park is reachable only by boat. It is located 2.5 miles north of Orcas Island and 1.5 miles east of Sucia Island. The closest launch sites are in Blaine, Obstruction Pass on Orcas Island, Squallicum Harbor in Bellingham, and in Anacortes.

Turn Island State Park is also reachable only by boat. The closest access point is Jackson Beach on San Juan Island. The closest "mainland" access is Washington Park in Anacortes.

Get Google map and directions to this refuge/WMD from a specified address:

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These driving directions are provided as a general guide only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, road conditions or route usability or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use.

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Management Activities
Eighty-three reefs, rocks and islands in the San Juan Islands of northern Puget Sound have been set aside as San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge. These islands have also been designated by Congress as a wilderness area where seabirds, eagles, and marine mammals will have an undisturbed place to live and raise their young.

Several islands have high cliffs and grassy slopes where seabirds such as cormorants, pigeon guillemots, and gulls prefer to nest. Bald eagles build their nests high in the large trees of forested islands and catch fish in the surrounding waters. Harbor seals haul out to rest or to have their pups on the smaller rocks and reef, as well as on the rocky beaches of the larger islands.

Of the 700 or so islands, islets, rocks, and reefs that make up the San Juan Islands, 83 are part of the refuge. Of these, 81 have been designated Wilderness since 1976.

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