Photo in the News: Troubled Hawaiian "Treasure" to Welcome Visitors

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July 23 2007—Working vacations in Hawaii might not be all the rage just yet.

But come January, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will encourage visitors to roll up their sleeves and clean up the polluted Midway Atoll, a remote region of the Hawaiian islands usually off limits to people.

The atoll sits within the 1,400-mile (2,253-kilometer) archipelago of the new Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which was set aside by President Bush in 2006. The small atoll is littered with detritus from its many years as a military base.

"[It] is such a treasure that America is not yet aware of," Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said during a recent visit to the remote island, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Visitors to the monument will busy themselves collecting old fishing nets and hooks—items that regularly harm sea turtles, fish, and monk seals.

The volunteers, which can number no more than 40 a night, will also pull up invasive plants. The golden crownbeard of the American Southwest, for instance, has disrupted the nesting grounds of the "gooney bird," or the Laysan albatross (above).

For this tropical getaway, expect a three-to-five hour plane ride from Honululu, the nearest city, and a weeklong price tag of U.S. $3,600.

—Christine Dell'Amore

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