Welcome to Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge
Within this protected area, the refuge has a total of 1,729 acres of emergent land and surrounded by more than 638,360 acres of submergent lands and waters. Refuge islands and atolls include Nihoa, Mokumanamana, French Frigate Shoals, Gardner Pinnacles, Maro Reef, Laysan, Lisianski, and Pearl and Hermes. This is a special place where seabirds nest by the millions and large predatory fish like sharks and Hawaiian grouper dominate the marine waters.
Nihoa Island and Mokumanamana are recognized for their rich cultural heritage. Some of the densest concentrations of prehistorical structural sites in Hawaii are located on these islands and both are on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Native Hawaiian sites on Mokumanamana are thought to date from before the 13th century A.D. Nihoa sites include house terraces, burial caves, and agricultural terraces. As many as 175 Native Hawaiians may have lived on Nihoa, but Mokumanamana appears to have been used primarily for religious purposes.
Except for field stations on Tern and Laysan Islands, these remote islands are not inhabited by humans or open to public visitation. Even scientific research or education permit opportunities are limited and closely scrutinized to minimize unnecessary disturbance.