• American Camp parade ground looking west

    San Juan Island

    National Historical Park Washington

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  • American Camp Visitor Center on Summer Schedule

    The American Camp visitor center is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through September 1. Grounds remain open daily from dawn to 11 p.m More »

  • English Camp Visitor Contact Station on Summer Schedule

    The English Camp visitor contact station in the Royal Marine Barracks is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily through September 1. Grounds are open daily from dawn to 11 p.m.

Animals

mule_deer_2009
The Columbian blacktail deer (odocoileus hemionus columbianus) is the largest land mammal in the San Juan Islands.
Mandy Lee Photo

Because of environmental and topographical contrasts on San Juan Island, you’ll find a surprising variety of wildlife here: Large marine mammals such as Orca whales, Dall’s porpoises and Pacific Harbor seals; terrestrial mammals such as red fox and Columbia blacktail deer; bats; reptiles; amphibians; more than 200 species of birds; 32 species of butterflies; 200 species of fish; and hundreds of species of marine invertebrates. Many species reside at San Juan Island NHP or in its surrounding waters year around, some are summer or winter residents, and others visit the island to rest and feed during seasonal migrations.

Island biogeography explains why there are fewer species of animals on San Juan Island than on the neighboring mainland: they must find a way to cross seven to 20-miles stretches of open water or vast expanses of open sky.

Not all animal species are native. Some, such as the red fox, European rabbit, and Norway rat, were introduced to the island by humans, which changed the island’s natural balance. The future of all these species is intricately tied to the environmental health of the land, water, and air of San Juan Island National Historical Park, the Straits of Juan de Fuca, Georgia, Haro, and beyond.

Did You Know?

West Valley Road on San Juan Island

Many of San Juan Island's roads trace sheep runs cut by Hudson's Bay Company workers. They were led, in part, by Fort Victoria Chief Factor and colonial Gov. James Douglas, from 1853 to 1859. Many of the workers were Cowichan Indians from Vancouver Island.