Midway Quotes

Midway News Articles –

Chronology of Events –

Background –
In 2002,  a ‘Cooperative Agreement’ between Midway Phoenix Corporation and the U.S. Fish and  Wildlife Service was dissolved, due to cooperation issues.  Since 2002, the FWS has promised to find an alternate ‘Cooperator’ and to re-open Midway for public visitation.  A new ‘Cooperative Agreement’ would again enable an Affordable Visitor Program, at nearly no-cost to the American Taxpayer.

It has been proven that a Cooperator could operate an Affordable Visitor Program at near no-cost to the FWS or the American Taxpayer.  In 2005, the FWS paid $30,000.00 for a Feasibility Study – which offered yet more proof that a self-sustaining and affordable visitor program is feasible, at near no-cost to the American Taxpayer.

The FWS claim ‘Budget Sequestration’ as their reason for keeping visitors away from Midway – claiming they need an extra $1 million annually to keep the island open for a few months of the year.

Midway is a a National Wildlife Refuge AND a Battle of Midway National Memorial, yet it remains completely closed – possibly the only National Memorial that is completely closed to the public – with no plan to reopen.

Since 2002 the Visitor Program has been closed for about 10 of 14 years.

Between 2008 and 2011, small groups of visitors were intermittently allowed on the island – some paid more than $7000 per week.

The Fish and Wildlife Service say sustainable tourism is feasible despite the challenges – yet they keep the island closed to the public.

2002 – Visitor Program Closed – MPC departed the island on 5/1/2002 – FWS said they were looking for another private company to resume the Visitor Program.
2003 – Visitor Program Closed – FWS claim a need to re-tool and re-group
2004 – Visitor Program Closed – FWS claim a need to re-tool and re-group
2005 – Visitor Program Closed – FWS claim a need to re-tool and re-group –
Visitor Feasibility Study completed
2006 – Visitor Program Closed – FWS claim a need to re-tool and re-group – seemingly ignore the results of the Feasibility Study.
2007 – Visitor Program Closed – FWS claim a need to re-tool and re-group – seemingly ignore the results of the Feasibility Study.
2008 – Visitor Program Intermittently Open, in small groups
2009 – Visitor Program Intermittently Open, in small groups
2010 – Visitor Program Intermittently Open, in small groups
2011 – Visitor Program Intermittently Open, in small groups
2012 – Visitor Program Closed, with no plan to reopen – FWS cite ‘Budget Sequestration’ for keeping the Visitor Program closed
2013 – Visitor Program Closed, with no plan to reopen
2014 – Visitor Program Closed, with no plan to reopen
2015 – Visitor Program Closed, with no plan to reopen
2016 – Visitor Program Closed, with no plan to reopen – President Obama visits Midway


11/4/2016, Associated Press Article, by Caleb Jones

“Military memorial, wildlife at odds in new Battle of Midway”
https://apnews.com/d52245fe9c014761a0db702105340b68/Military-memorial,-wildlife-at-odds-in-new-Battle-of-Midway
“Matthew Brown, Fish and Wildlife’s superintendent for the marine national monument, said sustainable tourism is feasible despite the challenges. “It’s a very logistically challenging place to do anything,” he said.”


11/20/2014, USFWS Oversight Hearing in Washington D.C.

Hearing entitled,
“Is the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge Being Properly Managed?”
http://naturalresources.house.gov/UploadedFiles/Flemingopening11_20.pdf
Congressman John Fleming, M.D., Committee Chairman –
“The FWS has a failing grade for achieving public visitation to Midway and for allowing Midway’s historic structures to deteriorate. It was a mistake to make Midway Islands a Wildlife Refuge” and went on to say that the USFWS has no interest, expertise or desire in the National Memorial.
Video Link to Oversight Hearing

 

2/7/2006, Posting from FWS Web Site –
http://www.fws.gov/midway/new.html
Visitor Services Planning Underway –
“Refuge staff, with assistance from two Honolulu-based FWS staff, set aside a week in early January to embark on Midway Atoll NWR’s long-awaited Visitor Services Plan, the next step toward enhancing the visitor program on the atoll.”


May 26, 2005 –

Oversight Hearing
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-109hhrg21449/html/CHRG-109hhrg21449.htm
“PUBLIC ACCESS WITHIN THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE SYSTEM”
Statement of The Honorable Wayne T. Gilchrest, Chairman, Subcommittee on Fisheries and Oceans
“…. Since January 2002, the visitors program at Midway Atoll has been closed and it is now virtually impossible for World War II veterans, naval historians and wildlife enthusiasts to visit the island. There have been many questions raised about the Fish and Wildlife Service’s enthusiasm for visitors on Midway. I am looking forward to being assured by the Service that once the airport management issue has been resolved, every effort will be made to resume the visitors program. This is the least we can do for those who sacrificed so much for this great country.


May 26, 2005 –

Oversight Hearing
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-109hhrg21449/html/CHRG-109hhrg21449.htm
“PUBLIC ACCESS WITHIN THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE SYSTEM”
Statement by William Hartwig, Assistant Director For The National Wildlife Refuge System, USFWS, DOI
“Through the Improvement Act, Congress recognized people were essential to the wildlife conservation, and that citizens who were involved in using and enjoying refuges were more likely to become involved in their stewardship.


4/12/2005 – Visitor Program Market Analysis and Feasibility Study
by Pandion Systems, Inc.
http://www.papahanaumokuakea.gov/management/pdfs/mrktfeas2005.pdf
“The study found that there are abundant and varied providers (potential
concessionaires) that specialize in providing tour packages to Midway’s target market. In addition, most of these providers currently offer tour opportunities in sensitive ecosystems and are accustomed to working within restrictive guidelines (i.e., minimizing ecosystem and wildlife impacts) similar to those in place on Midway.”

“An economically sustainable visitor program is feasible for Midway. It is
sustainable even if, in the short term, G-1 aircrafts are the only available air transportation for overnight visitors.”


1/9/2004,  Honolulu Advertiser Newpaper Article, by Jan TenBruggencate
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Jan/09/ln/ln33a.html
The bird count for Laysan albatrosses on Midway atoll has risen dramatically over the past two years, after a decline through most of the 1990s, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials aren’t sure why.
“……a 53.9 percent increase from the count in 2001.”

“….the black-footed albatross, were also counted. The volunteers located 20,393 active nests, which represented a 7.2 percent rise from 2001.”

“….the agency believes Midway is a safer place for the birds than it was years ago as an active Navy base.


5/26/2003, The Washington Times, by Audrey Hudson
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2002/may/26/20020526-025453-2237r/
Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., Tennessee Republican –
“Having a wildlife refuge or a national memorial that only bureaucrats can visit does not make a whole lot of sense,” Mr. Duncan said.

“I think the veterans who fought in the Battle of Midway deserve to be treated better by the Fish and Wildlife Service,” Mr. Duncan said….


5/8/2003, Regional Director USFWS, Pacific Region – Allen
http://www.greenenvironmentnews.com/Environment/Wildlife/FWS+Contracts+Chugach+Alaska+Corporation+to+Operate+Midway+Atoll+Infrastructure
“Allen said the agency’s commitment to allowing the public to experience the atoll’s historic and wildlife resources has not changed over the years. “We will be evaluating the type of visitor services that can be provided, based on the availability of resources,” he said.”


2/12/2003 –
Midway Refuge Manager (1997 – 2000) Rob Shallenberger –
“There is very little “natural” about the islands. In the absence of aggressive management to control invasive vegetation, the value of the islands as habitat for wildlife or people would deteriorate rapidly. The same applies to the maintenance of buildings and other facilities.”


11/6/2002, DOI-FWS Letter to Eddy Kannapel
From DOI-FWS Regional Director Rowan W. Gould –

“The visitor program is temporarily closed, but the Department of Interior and the Service remains committed to reopening Midway to visitors in the future.  As we pause now to regroup and retool for the future, we affirm that the Service will not shirk it’s primary responsibility to conserve Midway’s natural and historic resources and to protect the health and safety of it’s residents and future visitors.”


9/30/2002, U.S. Department of Interior News
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/03/nyregion/follow-the-beam.html
Interior Secretary, Gale Norton –
“Sometimes private groups can do more than the federal government”.


5/24/2002, Honolulu Advertiser Newspaper Article, by Jan
TenBruggencate
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2002/May/24/ln/ln13a.html
Assistant Secretary of Interior, Craig Manson –
“The Department of the Interior is fully committed to restoring public access to Midway. … We are working to reopen the island as quickly as possible so that veterans, birders and the general public once again can have the opportunity to experience the significant historic and wildlife resources so abundant on this atoll in the middle of the Pacific,” Manson said.


5/9/2002, Honolulu Star Bulletin, By Gregg K. Kakesako
http://starbulletin.com/2002/06/09/news/story8.html
IMMF President, James M. D’Angelo –
“D’Angelo said the atoll was designated the Battle of Midway National Memorial because of congressional action two years ago and not from the actions of the Fish and Wildlife Service. “Their policies are too extreme.”


5/9/2002, Honolulu Star Bulletin, By Gregg K. Kakesako

http://starbulletin.com/2002/06/09/news/story8.html
USFWS Chief, Pacific Islands External Affairs and Visitor Services, Barbara Maxfield –
“There are numerous other historical structures on the island that are eligible to be listed on the Registry of Historic Sites,” Maxfield added. “We are managing those historic places as if they were on the register.”


5/9/2002, Honolulu Star Bulletin, By Gregg K. Kakesako
http://starbulletin.com/2002/06/09/news/story8.html
Assistant Secretary of Interior, Craig Manson –
“As far as I am concerned, if we can make this one work, it will be a model,” Manson said, “and we could do this elsewhere. The National Wildlife Refugee System is underutilized and basically a secret to lot of people.”


5/9/2002, Honolulu Star Bulletin, By Gregg K. Kakesako
http://starbulletin.com/2002/06/09/news/story8.html
“Manson said the Bush administration has not taken a position yet on such a proposal, but added that the Fish and Wildlife Service has a historical preservation plan for Midway and “they are implementing it and they are sensitive to the history of the place.”


5/9/2002, Honolulu Star Bulletin, By Gregg K. Kakesako
http://starbulletin.com/2002/06/09/news/story8.html
“Federal officials hope this tiny and remote wildlife refuge will again be open to the public by March, when the Interior Department celebrates the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Wildlife Refuge System.”


5/6/2002, Honolulu Star Bulletin, By Gregg K. Kakesako
http://starbulletin.com/2002/06/06/news/story3.html
Assistant Secretary of Interior, Craig Manson –
“The Department of the Interior is fully committed to restoring public access to Midway”.
“We will be evaluating the type of visitor services that can be provided, based on the availability of resources,..”.


4/30/2002, Honolulu Advertiser Newspaper Article, by Jan
TenBruggencate
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2002/Apr/30/ln/ln33a.html
Assistant Secretary of Interior, Craig Manson  –
“Although we are not in a position at this time to reopen our doors to visitors, we hope to be able to do so in the future,” said Craig Manson, assistant secretary of the Department of Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.”


3/31/2002, The New York Times, by John H. Cushman Jr.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D00E2D9153BF932A05750C0A9649C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2
Barbara Maxfield, a Spokeswoman for the Interior Department, said it had not been satisfied with the company’s performance in maintaining the refuge’s property, ensuring the safety of tourists, and protecting the frail resources of the atoll. By law, the wildlife agency’s main objective in managing its reserves is conservation.


3/16/2002 Article in The Washington Times, by Audry Hudson

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2002/mar/16/20020316-041107-4551r/
IMMF President, James M. D’Angelo –
“Based on past experiences with the FWS, it is fair to say that access to Midway by the public was doomed to failure from the beginning,” said James M. D’Angelo, president of the International Midway Memorial Foundation (IMMF).


3/16/2002, Article in The Washington Times, by Audry Hudson

http://goliath.ecnext.com/premium/0199/0199-1508771.html
USFWS Spokesperson, Mark Pfeifle –
“We will implement a transition strategy to preserve the condition of the facilities and ensure the continued conservation of Midway’s fish, wildlife and historical resources,” said spokesman Mark Pfeifle.

“The agency is looking for another private company to resume the operations on the island. The Fish and Wildlife Service will use its own funds until another corporate sponsor can be recruited”.


2/4/2002, Honolulu Star Bulletin Newspaper Article, by Mitch Stacy – AP
http://starbulletin.com/2002/02/04/news/story5.html
USFWS Chief, Pacific Islands External Affairs and Visitor Services, Barbara Maxfield –
“It’s a national wildlife refuge, and we are required by law to put wildlife first,” Maxfield said. “That has some pretty strict requirements with it that didn’t always make Midway Phoenix happy.”


2/2/2002, Honolulu Advertiser Newspaper Article, by Jan TenBruggencate

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2002/Feb/02/ln/ln05a.html
Midway Refuge Manager (1997 – 2000) Rob Shallenberger –“Shallenberger said his staff has removed about 10 percent of the ironwood trees on Sand Island, and plans to cut down the trees from another one or two coastal acres, to provide additional habitat for black-footed albatross, a species whose numbers are declining. He said the service does not intend to remove all the trees, and said some species on Sand Island, notably terns, have begun using ironwood trees for nesting habitat.”


2/2/2002, Honolulu Advertiser Newspaper Article, by Jan TenBruggencate
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2002/Feb/02/ln/ln05a.html
Midway Refuge Manager (1997 – 2000) Rob Shallenberger –
“The agency will find another operator or multiple operators to run facilities if Midway Phoenix leaves….”


2/1/2002, The Outdoors – Article by Pete Thomas

http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/104244600.html?dids=104244600:104244600&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Feb+01,+2002&author=PETE+THOMAS&pub=Los+Angeles+Times&desc=OUTDOORS+PETE+THOMAS;+Midway+Atoll+Is+Off-Limits+Again&pqatl=google
“Refuge manager Rob Shallenberger, who said restrictions on tourists are no greater than they have been from the beginning, has denied killing trees on Sand Island, the only populated island. Midway Phoenix employees have charged otherwise.”


4/12/2001, Honolulu Star Bulletin Newspaper Article, by Gregg K. Kakesako
http://starbulletin.com/2001/04/12/news/story10.html
“If Rob Shallenberger, deputy project leader of the Hawaii and Pacific Island National Wildlife Refugee Complex, has his way there will be virtually no man-made structures on any part of Johnston Island once the military leaves in three years.”

“The end of military control will mean the atoll will probably revert back to the U.S. Interior Department and ultimately to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Shallenberger said, which has been custodian of the remote piece of the Pacific since 1926.”

“We hope to operate only a small field station here similar to the one we have on Tern Island,” Shallenberger said.  And the Interior Department doesn’t plan to open it up for recreational use like was done on Midway Island.  “Midway already satisfies that purpose,” Shallenberger said. “We don’t think Johnston would have the same appeal as Midway.”


6/4/1999, Naval Administrative Message;

http://www.bupers.navy.mil/navadmin/nav99/nav99164.txt
Navy Admiral Jay L. Johnson –
“After considerable deliberation, it is apparent that the two most significant dates in our Naval history are 13 October 1775, the birth of our Navy, and 4 June 1942, the Battle of Midway.”

“These two prominent days will henceforth be celebrated annually as the centerpieces of our heritage.”


1/7/1997, Newspaper article in the Honolulu Star Bulletin, by Joan Conrow
http://starbulletin.com/97/01/07/news/story2.html
USFWS Ken Niethammer –
“The Fish and Wildlife Service plans to remove more of the ironwood trees that snare albatrosses in flight and still faces the awesome task of eradicating acres of invasive weeds.The Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t intend to remove all traces of the atoll’s human history. Historic buildings and military memorials and artifacts will remain alongside buildings that serve visitors.”Midway will never be taken back to what it was before man got here,” Niethammer said.”


1/6/1997, Newspaper article in the Honolulu Star Bulletin, by Joan Conrow
http://archives.starbulletin.com/97/01/06/news/story1.html
USFWS Ken Niethammer –
“Both sides say the experiment is working well. “The biggest challenge for all of us is keeping communication lines open and active because so many people are involved in any one decision,” said Niethammer, who has found himself negotiating with the Navy and its contractors, Midway Phoenix and its three subcontractors and a host of government agencies. “Every year we will re-evaluate what’s going on, look at whether restrictions need to be tightened or loosened,” Niethammer said. “It’s kind of a living agreement.”Other government agencies and the island’s ecotourism operator said they intend to ensure that conservation prevails as well. “It has to,” said Naughton of the National Marine Fisheries Services. “We’re not worried about the economic end of things, just protecting the (wildlife) habitat and resources up there. We’re not gonna compromise that.”Naughton concurred. “All of us are in agreement that ecotourism can work, it’s just a matter of managing the people once they get up there. There’s nothing that can’t be worked out.”