All 145 acres of Matia Island are under the protection of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a National Wildlife Refuge that is part of the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Situated within the Strait of Georgia and exceptionally exposed to the elements, Matia has nearly 4 miles of shoreline that can dramatically change with tides that vary by as much as 14 feet.
Of the 145 total acres, only 5 acres of the island are available for public use. This area includes a 2-acre camping area around Rolfe Cove that has six primitive campsites, a picnic area, and a composting toilet. Pets, wood collecting, and fires are not allowed. For boaters, the island features a 116-foot pier and a 45-foot ramp. Except for the campground, boating facilities, and a 1.2-mile trail loop, all areas above the high tide line are closed to the public. There is no fresh water available on the island, and visitors must pack out their garbage.
When it comes to the island’s name, if you ask a locals, they will tell you "May-shah." However, the correct pronunciation, "Ma-TEE-ah," is more consistent with the island's Spanish name, Isla de Mata.