About Us

Baker Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1974 and lies just north of the equator in the central Pacific Ocean and about 1,830 nautical miles southwest of Honolulu. 

On January 6, 2009, the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument was established, which includes Baker Island National Wildlife Refuge within its boundaries. 

The refuge includes 410,184 acres, of which 531 acres are terrestrial and 409,653 acres are submerged. Except for a shallow reef surrounding the island, most of the submerged habitat is deep and relatively unexplored. 

Baker Island borders along an ancient coral reef and massive extinct volcano that emerges from the deep ocean floor. The equatorial undercurrent pushes nutrient-rich waters up into the sunlit zone, thereby increasing marine productivity that many marine species benefit from. This important phenomenon may be limited only to Howland, Baker, Jarvis Islands, and a few other islands in the Pacific because of their location on the equator. 

Baker Island is uninhabited, and entry is by permit only to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel, scientists, and researchers. Baker Island is accessible only by ship. 

Our Mission

The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans. 

The specific purpose state for establishment of Baker identified in the biological ascertainment report at the time of transfer to the USFWS (1973) states, “...the restoration and preservation of the complete ecosystem, terrestrial and marine. Priority must be given to allowing seabird nesting colonies to reestablish themselves on Baker so they would eventually reach the great numbers which were present there prior to human occupancy and abuse of the island during the past 125 years.” 

Our History

  • March 14, 1903 – President Theodore Roosevelt implements the first National Wildlife Refuge on Pelican Island, Florida. 
  • June 27, 1974 - The secretary of the interior designates Baker Island and its territorial sea, extending three nautical miles, as a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System to be “administered under the general regulations for the National Wildlife Refuge System published in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations”(39 FR 27930) .  
  • January 6, 2009 - The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument was established, which expanded the protected boundaries of Baker Island to 50 nautical miles, encompassing 410,184 acres, with 531 acres being terrestrial and 409,653 acres being submerged. 

Other Facilities in this Complex

While Baker Island National Wildlife Refuge is not a complex, it does fall within the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument that incorporates approximately 490,000 square miles within its boundaries, which extend 50 nautical miles from Kingman Reef, Palmyra Atoll, Howland and Baker Islands, and 200 nautical miles from Jarvis Island, and Johnston and Wake Atolls.