Tiny Midway Atoll northwest of Hawaii may indeed be what a tour operator describes as a "magical" destination, but the chances of travelers getting there anytime soon are pretty slim.
It's part of the unpronounceable Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which President Obama expanded Aug. 26 to create the largest protected place on Earth. At 582,578 miles, the national monument made up of a few little islands and the Pacific Ocean covers an area larger than California, Montana and Texas combined.
The atoll's coastal waters are home to abundant and sometimes rare wildlife. For example, a new species of butterflyfish was recently discovered there.
And if you want to visit? Well, it's complicated.
"It's the only refuge [the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service] manages that has overnight accommodations," Galapagos Travel owner Mark Grantham says.
"It's very nicely refurbished military barracks … turned into suites," he continues. But it's now closed.
With visitor programs suspended, volunteering may be one way for travelers to see the islands.
Various opportunities on obscure outposts like the Kure Atoll Seabird Sanctuary and Laysan and Tern islands are occasionally available on the monument's website.
For projects on the Midway Atoll, travel dates are determined by the schedule for supply planes to fly out from Honolulu. Grantham will travel to the atoll in December to help with the annual albatross count. Due to flight schedules, he'll be there for three weeks. That, he says, is a blessing.
"It's the most magical wildlife place I've ever been," he said.