4 U. Haw. L. Rev. 139 (1982)
State-Federal Jurisdictional Conflict over the Internal Waters and Submerged Lands of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

handle is hein.journals/uhawlr4 and id is 143 raw text is: STATE-FEDERAL JURISDICTIONAL CONFLICT OVER THE
INTERNAL WATERS AND SUBMERGED LANDS OF THE
NORTHWESTERN HAWAIIAN ISLANDS
Walk softly.
Walk softly, stranger.
The land on which you stand is Holy ground...
a place of unspoiled beauty, colored by the hand of God.
And you who stand upon this land will someday too
remember sun-washed sands and quiet days, and
moments crystallized in time.
Walk softly, stranger,
for you stand on Holy ground.
-A testimonial to the beauty of the Northwestern
Hawaiian Islands left by a Coast Guardsman on East
Island, French Frigate Shoals.
The internal waters and submerged lands of the Northwestern
Hawaiian Islands, a chain of small, low, rocky islets and coral atolls
extending more than 1,000 miles in a northwesterly direction from the
island of Niihau of the main Hawaiian Islands,1 are a potential source of
' The Hawaiian chain of 132 islands, reefs and shoals can be roughly separated into three
geologic sections: 1) The eight main islands and the small islands off their shores; 2) the
rocky islets in the center; and 3) the low islands of sand and coral at the northwest end. The
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands comprise those in the latter two groups, and include
numerous guyots, seamounts, shoals, banks and reefs as structural parts of the archipelago.
Specifically, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, also known as the Leeward Islands, from
east to west include Nihoa, Necker Island, French Frigate Shoals with La Perouse Pinnacle,
Gardner Pinnacles, Maro Reef, Laysan Island, Lisianski Island, Pearl and Hermes Reef, the
Midway Islands and Kure Atoll. The State of Hawaii formally consists of all the islands in
the archipelago with the exception of the Midway Islands, see HAwAII CONST. art. XV, § 1,
which were annexed by the United States in 1867, see A. Taylor, Islands of the Hawaiian
Domain (Jan. 1931)(unpublished compilation of historical and government documents
relating to the Hawaiian domain in State Archives, Dep't of Accounting and General
Services, State of Hawaii); Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244, 304 (1901)(White, J.,
concurring), and which were set aside by Executive Order in 1903 for naval purposes and are
under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Dep't of Defense. Exec. Order No. 199A (1903).
Geologically, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands differ significantly from the eight main
islands, which are characterized by high mountains, relatively large land masses and a wide
variety of plants and animals. Gardner Pinnacles, La Perouse Pinnacle, Nihoa and Necker
Island are predominantly barren rock. The first two are tiny rock islands which jut
dramatically from the ocean to heights of 190 and 122 feet above sea level, respectively.
They are devoid of vegetation and have a snow-capped appearance because of a covering of
guano left by large seabird nesting colonies. Nihoa, the highest of the refuge islands, rises

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