San Juan Wilderness

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San Juan Wilderness
IUCN category Ib (wilderness area)
Map showing the location of San Juan Wilderness
Map showing the location of San Juan Wilderness
Location San Juan County, Washington, United States
Nearest city Friday Harbor, Washington
Coordinates 48°35′49″N 122°59′41″W / 48.59694°N 122.99472°W / 48.59694; -122.99472Coordinates: 48°35′49″N 122°59′41″W / 48.59694°N 122.99472°W / 48.59694; -122.99472
Area 353-acre (1.43 km2)
Established 1976 (1976)
Governing body U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

San Juan Wilderness is a 353 acres (1.43 km2) wilderness area located in the San Juan Archipelago in northwestern Washington, United States. The wilderness designation protects 81 of the 83 islands that make up the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge scattered over 650 square miles (1,700 km2).[1]


The San Juan Wilderness provides sanctuary for a large variety of animals including species of gull, cormorant, guillemot, puffin, brant, oyster catcher, killdeer, auklet, bald eagle, and harbor seal.[1]

An estimated 200 species of birds visit the islands each year. Harbor seals and whales are common in surrounding water and black brant have historically used the kelp beds for winter feeding.[2]


Recreation in San Juan Wilderness is limited to wildlife watching from afar. Boaters are requested to stay 200 yards from wilderness when observing wildlife. Public entry to the designated land is not permitted, with the exception of Matia Island, which is accessed by a cove with a dock. Matia Island boasts a 5 acres (0.020 km2) campground and a trailhead to the 1 mile (1.6 km) trail through the wilderness.[1]

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