The US took possession of the island in 1857, and its guano deposits were mined by US and British companies during the second half of the 19th century. In 1935, a short-lived attempt at colonization was begun on this island - as well as on nearby Howland Island - but was disrupted by World War II and thereafter abandoned. Presently the island is a National Wildlife Refuge run by the US Department of the Interior; a day beacon is situated near the middle of the west coast.
Equatorial; scant rainfall, constant wind, burning sun.
Low, nearly level coral island surrounded by a narrow fringing reef. Treeless, sparse, and scattered vegetation consisting of grasses, prostrate vines, and low growing shrubs; primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife.
Public entry is by special-use permit from US Fish and Wildlife Service only and generally restricted to scientists and educators.
There is an abandoned World War II runway of 1,665 m, completely covered with vegetation and unusable. There is a day beacon on the west side of the island.
There is one small boat landing area along the middle of the west coast.
There is no economic activity on Baker Island.
A cemetery and remnants of structures from early settlement are located near the middle of the west coast.
There are no accommodations on Baker Island.
There are no natural sources of fresh water on Baker Island.