About the Refuge
Howland Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1974 by the Secretary of the Interior and expanded in 2009 to include submerged lands out to 12 nautical miles from the island. The Refuge includes 410,999 acres, of which 648 acres are terrestrial and 410,351 acres are submerged. A shallow fringing coral reef surrounds the island, but most of the submerged area is deep coral and other unexplored habitats.
On January 6, 2009, the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument was established, which includes Howland Island National Wildlife Refuge within its boundaries.
The island is uninhabited, and entry is by permit only. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel visit Howland about every 2 years, though occasionally scientists and researchers team up to share transportation costs to the island more frequently. Located 1,815 nautical miles southwest of Honolulu, it is only accessible by an 8-day ship voyage.