The United States Congress designated the Washington Islands Wilderness (map
) in 1970 and it now has a total of 452 acres
(451.5 acres, technically).
All of this wilderness is located in Washington
and is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Washington Islands National Wildlife Refuges, off the Olympic Coast, were established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1907. They comprise 125-acre Flattery Rocks, 300-acre Quillayute Needles, and 60-acre Copalis, stretching off-shore from Cape Flattery all the way south to Copalis, Washington. More than 600 islands, rocks, and reefs comprise the refuges, and all but Destruction Island were designated as wilderness in 1970 and total approximately 452 acres of unsurveyed lands above the line of mean high water. The islands range from less than 1 acre to about 36 acres, and most drop abruptly into the sea. They provide nesting habitat for more than 70 percent of Washington's seabirds and support some of the largest seabird colonies in the continental United States. Some of the highlighted species include common murre, tufted puffin, Brandt cormorant, and rhinoceros auklet. Marine mammals such as the charismatic sea otter, harbor seal, Steller sea lion, California sea lion, and northern elephant seal regularly haul out onto the islands to rest, and they commonly and feed in waters surrounding the refuges. To prevent disturbance to extremely sensitive seabirds and marine mammals, Washington Islands Wilderness is closed to public entry year round and waters within 500 feet are designated as a voluntary closure to all watercraft.