Welcome to Howland Island National Wildlife Refuge, which is part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument system! Howland Island is a sanctuary for millions of seabirds, shorebirds, and various marine life who all call the island home. Howland is uninhabited, and entry is by Special Use Permit only.

Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you recreate responsibly.

  • Check alerts and local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Consistent with CDC recommendations, all visitors (age 2 and older), who are fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask inside of federal buildings in areas of substantial or high community transmission.. All visitors who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow CDC guidance on how to protect yourself and others.

Visit Us

Howland Island National Wildlife Refuge is not open to the public and entry is only allowed through a Special Use Permit when the activity is deemed appropriate with purposes to the refuge establishment. 

Location and Contact Information


      Law enforcement issues should be referred to the deputy refuge manager or refuge manager.  

      You may also report violations to our "TIPS" line 1-844-FWS-TIPS (379-8477). 

      About Us

      Howland Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1974 and expanded in 2009 as part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to include submerged lands out to 50 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. 

      What We Do

      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. 

      Our Organization

      There are many ways to support your national wildlife refuges. There are non-profit organizations that support  wildlife and restoration projects within the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Volunteer opportunities can also be found at volunteer.gov.

      Our Species

      Howland Island National Wildlife Refuge is home to numerous species of unique wildlife. The low reef island is part of an ancient coral reef cap and massive underlying volcano. Beyond the shallow fringing reef and terrace, the slopes of the extinct volcano drop off sharply to the deep floor of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.