Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park celebrates 100 years protecting native ecosystems and invites everyone to lend a helping hand on National Public Lands Day (NPLD) this Saturday, Sept. 24. It’s a fee-free day, and while all park visitors can enjoy the park at no charge, NPLD volunteers will receive a free pass to use on another day of their choosing.
Join volunteers on Saturday for the Stewardship at the Summit program, from 8:45 a.m. to noon. Meet NPLD coordinator Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center, then head into the rainforest to remove invasive Himalayan ginger from the summit of Kīlauea. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, sunscreen, raingear, snacks, and water. Loppers/gloves provided. No advance registration required.
While pretty and fragrant, Himalayan ginger (also called kāhili) is one of the most invasive plants in the park, and on earth. It is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as one of the 100 World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species. The park strives to protect the rainforest habitat of native birds and plants, but Himalayan ginger takes over the native rainforest understory, and makes it impossible for the next generation of forest to grow. This inedible ginger species crowds out many native plants, including pa‘iniu (a Hawaiian lily), ‘ama‘u fern, and others.
Every year on NPLD, the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States, all fee-charging national parks offer free entry. Many parks and public lands across the nation organize stewardship projects and special programs to raise awareness about why it is important to protect our public lands. To find out more, visit www.publiclandsday.org.