Washington Islands Wilderness
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 (WINWR) were established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1907 and all were designated as Wilderness Areas in 1970, with the exception of Destruction Island. More than 600 islands, rocks, and reefs comprise WINWR. The islands range in size from less than one acre to about 36 acres, and most drop abruptly into the sea. The three refuges combined in WINWR are 125-acre Flattery Rocks, 300-acre Quillayute Needles, and 60-acre Copalis, stretching off-shore from Cape Flattery all the way south to Copalis. These refuge islands 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 seal lion, and northern elephant seal, are regularly seen hauling out onto the islands to rest and feeding in the waters around the refuges.
Closed Wilderness Areas
Ten of the National Wilderness Preservation System's 757 wilderness areas are closed to access and use by the general public. All these closed areas are managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service, except the Mesa Verde Wilderness.
The core mission of the Service's National Wildlife Refuge System is conservation of native fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats. The Washington Islands Wilderness, part of the Copalis National Wildlife Refuge, Flattery Rocks National Wildlife Refuge and Quillayute Needles National Wildlife Refuge, is closed to visitation to protect wildlife and other natural, cultural, and/or other resources consistent with the conservation purpose(s) of the refuges. Wilderness designation provides an additional level of protection for the wilderness portions of these refuges, but does not open the area to public access or use.