Leave Only Footprints on San Juan Island

We love sharing our island and providing a base camp for our guests to authentically experience, discover and explore our island’s stunning nature and rich culture. Pristine San Juan Island, its rugged shorelines, breathtaking beaches and great hiking trails are the precious home to rare wildlife.

The Orca whales - being on the top of the food chain - depend on clean water and returning salmon for their survival. Otters, seals, Bald Eagles and other seabirds feeding and nesting on the coastlines, require not to be disturbed by two and four-legged visitors to rear their young without fear.

Here are 10 guidelines to help share, protect and enjoy San Juan Island with minimal impact on our fragile environment, to get the most out of your visit and to ensure your kids and your kids’ kids will be able to do the same.

  1. Know the Rules

Be Whale Wise when out on the water and always stay at least 200 yards away from whales while observing the 400 yard no-wake zone.

Never touch any wildlife, even when you think an animal is hurt or abandoned. Call the Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center if you think an animal is in distress.

Black Fox in the woods by Roche Harbor

  1. Keep the Wildlife Wild

Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed or touch wild animals. When you walk on a beach at dusk and you find a seal pup, give it lots of space and don’t scare it. And don’t worry about it--it’s in seal pup daycare and its parents are hunting nearby.

  1. Stick to the Trails

Protect tide pools, mossy rocks and prairie grasses by riding or hiking in the middle of trails. Please do not create new ones or short cuts. Make sure your dog does the same.

  1. Pack it in, Pack it out

Please don’t litter. Not even food scraps. Trash accidentally ingested by an animal can kill it. Make sure to pick up after your dog. We have dog waste bags available in the lobby as well as in our dog area. Be an awesome example for your kids and hike out an empty plastic bottle or soda can somebody else threw away. Every little action helps. You are making a difference.

Protect Tide Pools

  1. Mind the Sea

Soap is particularly harmful to marine life. Never use or discard soap into the Salish Sea. The same is true for food, human and dog waste.

Wild Red Columbine on Mt Grant

  1.  Leave it as you found it

Leave alone rocks, historical artifacts and plants like wildflowers or the Prickly Pear Cactus, the only native cactus this far north. Let the people after you enjoy the same awe-inspiring beauty you found.

  1. Recycle Maps and Brochures

Return visitor’s guides you obtained at interpretive centers when you are finished with them. Recycle your island maps with us at the front desk. Put that novel you just finished into the Free Library on the corner of Nichols and A Street and leave your magazines at the ACE Hardware for somebody else to enjoy.