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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Announces Upcoming Flight Plans

Visitors observe Kīlauea summit lava lake last month from the Jaggar Museum observation deck, open 24 hours a day in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo by Janice Wei

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park announces the following upcoming flight plans for October 2017:

  • October 12, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., to shuttle fencing material and equipment from ‘Ōla‘a Tract to Wright Road in Volcano.
  • October 14 and 15, between 9 a.m. and noon, to transport crew from Kīlauea helipad to Kahuku Unit at the 8,000-ft. elevation for archeological surveys.
  • October 18, between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., for ungulate surveys and control work in Kahuku between 5,000- and 7,000-ft. elevation.
  • October 18, between 10 a.m. and 3p.m., to shuttle fencing material and equipment to Kahuku at about 7,000-ft. elevationfor silversword recovery efforts.
  • October 19, between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.,for ungulate surveys and control work in Kahuku between 3,000- and 5,000-ft. elevation.
  • October 24, between 7 a.m. and 9a.m., to shuttle fencing material and equipment to Kahuku between 2,000-and 3,000-ft.elevation.

In addition, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory may conduct flight operations over Kīlauea and Mauna Loa to assess volcanic activity and maintain instrumentation.
The park regrets any noise impact to residents and park visitors. Dates and times are subject to change based on aircraft availability and weather.

Management of the park requires the use of aircraft to monitor and research volcanic activity, conduct search-and-rescue missions and law enforcement operations, support management of natural and cultural resources, and to maintain backcountry facilities.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Explore Kahuku October – December

Everyone is invited to participate in the free guided hikes, “Coffee Talks” and ‘Ike Hana No‘eau Hawaiian cultural programs in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, from October through December 2017. Visitors can also explore Kahuku on their own on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A visitor explores the Realms and Divisions of Kahuku. NPS Photo Janice Wei

The Kahuku Unit will be open for visitors on both Christmas Eve, Dec. 24 and New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, but no guided programs will be offered.

Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection and a snack are recommended for all hikes. Entrance and all programs are free.

Participate in ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) Hawaiian cultural demonstrations at Kahuku on the third Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon, October 20, November 17, and December 15. Programs are free.

Get to know your park and your neighbors and join an informal “Coffee Talk” conversation on a wide variety of topics at Kahuku the last Friday of most months (there is no Coffee Talk in November). Ka‘ū coffee, tea and pastries will be available for purchase. Coffee Talks are offered free on October 27 and December 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Pu‘u o Lokuana is a short 0.4-mile hike to the top of the grassy cinder cone, Pu‘u o Lokuana. Learn about the formation and various uses of this hill over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka‘ū. This hike is offered October 1 & 28 and November 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Palm Trail is a moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pastures along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail is offered October 7 & 22, November 26, and December 3 & 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

‘Ōhi‘a Lehua. Learn about the vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the ‘ōhi‘a tree, and the new disease of Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. Visitors will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku on this program, which is an easy, one-mile (or less) walk. The ‘Ōhi‘a Lehua program is offered October 8, November 12, and December 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day. Families are invited for a day of fun, culture and discovery at the Kahuku Unit. Learn about the hidden powers that plants have to keep us healthy through the teachings of Aunty Ka‘ohu Monfort, a practitioner of lā‘au lapa‘au (Hawaiian herbal medicine). Collect seeds from native plants and help park rangers bring new life to Kahuku. Kids 17 and under and their families must sign up by October 13 by calling 808-985-6019. Bring water, lunch and snacks, sunscreen, hat, long pants, shoes and reusable water bottle. Kahuku ‘Ohana Day is Saturday, October 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Birth of Kahuku. Explore the rich geologic history of Kahuku. Traverse the vast 1868 lava flow, see different volcano features and formations, and identify many parts of the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. Learn about the Hawaiian hotspot and the creation of Kahuku. This guided easy-to-moderate hike is offered October 14, November 4, and December 9 & 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

People and Land of Kahuku is a moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields, and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands – from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped, and restored this land. The guided hike is offered October 15, November 19 and December 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole). Hike the Palm Trail and be inspired by a place where hulihia (catastrophic change) and kulia (restoration) can be observed as the land transitions from the 1868 lava flow and its pioneer plants, to deeper soil with more diverse and older flora. Learn about native plants and their significance in Hawaiian culture. This moderate hike is about two miles and takes two hours. The Nature & Culture program is offered October 21 and November 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Realms and Divisions of Kahuku. Experience the sense of place that evolves at the intersection of nature and culture on this moderately difficult two-mile, two-hour guided hike on the Kahuku Unit’s newest trail, Pu‘u Kahuku. Explore the realms and divisions of the traditional Hawaiian classification system at Kahuku. Bring a snack for the “talk story” segment of this hike. Offered October 29, November 11, and December 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Hi‘iaka & Pele. Discover two fascinating Hawaiian goddesses, sisters Pelehonuamea (Pele) and Hi‘iaka, and the natural phenomena they represent. Visitors will experience the sisters coming alive through the epic stories depicted in the natural landscape of Kahuku on this easy 1.7-mile walk on the main road in Kahuku. The Hi‘iaka and Pele program is offered November 18 and December 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Keep up with Kahuku events and visit the calendar on the park website, https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/kahuku-hikes.htm, and download the Kahuku Site Bulletin https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/upload/2013_11_05-Kahuku-Site-Bulletin.pdf.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Offers Free Entry and Stewardship Opportunities on National Public Lands Day

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park offers free entrance and two opportunities to help protect Hawai‘i this Saturday, National Public Lands Day, Sept. 30, by removing invasive plant species in the park and in the Ocean View community.
In honor of National Public Lands Day, the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is offering the Stewardship at the Summit program from 9 a.m. to noon. Meet volunteers Paul and Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center at 8:45 a.m., then head into the forest to remove Himalayan ginger from the summit of Kīlauea.

NPS Photo

Himalayan ginger 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, making it impossible for the next generation of forest to grow, and it crowds out many native plants, including pa‘iniu (a Hawaiian lily), ‘ama‘u fern, and others. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, sunscreen, raingear, snacks, and water. Loppers/gloves provided. No advance registration required.

Volunteers for Stewardship at the Summit on Saturday will receive a free park pass to use on another date of their choosing.

In Ocean View, volunteers are needed to remove invasive fountain grass from roadsides in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates (HOVE). Meet at the Ocean View Community Center on Sat., Sept. 30 at 9 a.m.; bring lunch, water, a hat and sun protection. This noxious weed increases the risk of wildfire. In 2005, fountain grass was responsible for a 25,000-acre fire that forced evacuation of Waikoloa Village. Contact Park Ecologist David Benitez at (808) 985-6085 or email him at david_benitez@nps.gov for more information about this project.

Every year on National Public Lands Day (NPLD), all fee-charging national parks offer free entry. Many parks and public lands across the nation organize stewardship projects and special programs on NPLD to raise awareness about why it is important to protect our public lands.

Man Achieves Goal to Visit ALL 59 National Parks

When Dave Parker entered Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Tuesday night, he accomplished his lifelong dream to visit the 59 iconic national parks in the U.S.

Chief Ranger John Broward shakes hands with Dave Parker of McLean, VA who completed his quest to visit all 59 National Parks on Wednesday. (All photos NPS Photos by Janice Wei)

“To see Kīlauea erupt is indescribable and it’s just spectacular to see,” Parker said. “It’s the reason we came here,” he said.

On Wednesday, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park surprised Parker with a “59ers” Certificate of Achievement, signed by National Park Service Acting Director, Mike Reynolds. The certificate was presented by Acting Superintendent and Chief Ranger John Broward, who congratulated Parker in front of visitors and staff at the Kīlauea Visitor Center.

Dave Parker poses for a photo in front of an interpretive display in the Kīlauea Visitor Center of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

“It’s uplifting that Mr. Parker made it a priority to see all 59 of the iconic national parks,” Broward said. “Park visitors help steward our public lands, and by appreciating them, they protect them. And Dave Parker, you couldn’t have a better last name,” he said.

Parker’s love for national parks blossomed at the tender age of 14, when his parents took him to his first parks, Yellowstone and Grand Teton. His family camped, rode horses, hiked the trails and watched Yellowstone’s famous geyser, Old Faithful, erupt.

Now 77, Parker, his wife Carol, and friends Red and Sheri Cavaney, will spend a few nights at Volcano House and explore the eruptions of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. They enjoyed a ranger talk about the volcanic origins of the Hawaiian Islands, and a guided tour with the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (FHVNP).

Left to right: Elizabeth Fien, Executive Director of the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; Dave Parker “59er”; , Margot Griffith, Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association; and Hawaii Volcanoes’ Acting Superintendent and Chief Ranger John Broward smile for a photo in the Kīlauea Visitor Center.

The park’s non-profit supporting partners, the FHVNP and the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, presented the Parkers and friends with commemorative items including ball caps, T shirts, pins, a gift certificate for The Rim restaurant, and other mementos and educational items to help them enjoy and discover the park.

“There are many ways to support your parks,” Parker said. “All parks have organizations that support them that you can donate to. You can volunteer and give back with your time. It’s an important investment to make for the survival of public lands and our future generations,” he said.

The auspicious visit was Parker’s fifth time to Hawai‘i, and his first to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. During his early career working for the Dept. of Commerce in Wash., D.C., he helped promote travel to the U.S., and had close ties to the Hawai‘i visitor industry. He and his wife live in McLean, VA.

Left to right: Sheri Cavaney, Dave Parker, Carol Parker and Red Cavaney, smile for photos in the Kīlauea Visitor Center on Wednesday. Dave is wearing an NPS Centennial T-shirt listing all 59 national parks.

The National Park Service has more than 20,000 National Park Service employees who care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s October 2017 Events

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park (ADIP) programs with the public throughout 2017. In addition, the community is invited to lend a hand to save native rainforest through the park’s Stewardship at the Summit volunteer program.
ADIP and Hawaiian cultural programs are free, but entrance fees apply.

Programs are co-sponsored by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

Stewardship at the Summit. Volunteers are needed to help remove invasive, non-native plant species that prevent native plants from growing in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided. No advance registration is required, and there is no cost to participate, but park entrance fees apply. Visit the park website for additional planning details: https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/summit_stewardship.htm.
When: October 7, 13, 21, and 27 at 9 a.m.
Where: Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center at 8:45 a.m. on any of the above dates.

Lomi. Lomi is the traditional massage practice of the Hawaiian people.

Lomi massage demonstrated in the park. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

There are many different styles of lomi used throughout Hawai‘i, and most are used as a way to heal body and mind. Lomi practitioner Annie Erbe will demonstrate this popular healing art. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Footprints in the Ash. Hawaiians once traversed Kīlauea on foot to travel between Puna and Ka‘ū, and during the 18th century, explosions from the volcano rained volcanic ash down on the people, preserving their footprints in the sands of “Keonehelelei.”

Footprints fossilized in volcanic ash in the Ka‘ū Desert will be the subject of October’s After Dark in the Park. NPS Photo.

Park Ranger Jay Robinson discusses new interpretive displays in the Ka‘ū Desert and explains what we know today about the impact of these explosive eruptions on native society. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium

Mark Yamanaka in Concert. Join local recording artist Mark Yamanaka for a free concert.

Mark has been awarded multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards since the debut of his first album, Lei Puakenikeni. His next album, Lei Maile, has also received critical acclaim. Mark’s crisp, clear falsetto and rich baritone voice will mesmerize you. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.
When: Wed., Oct. 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day. Families are invited for a day of fun, culture and discovery at the Kahuku Unit! Learn about the hidden powers that plants have to keep us healthy through the teachings of Aunty Ka‘ohu Monfort, a practitioner of lā‘au lapa‘au (Hawaiian herbal medicine).

Aunty Ka‘ohu Monfort demonstrates lā‘au lapa‘au at the 2017 Cultural Festival. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

Collect seeds from native plants and help park rangers bring new life to Kahuku. Kids 17 and under and their families must sign up by October 13 to participate by calling 808-985-6019. Bring water, lunch and snacks, sunscreen, hat, long pants, shoes and reusable water bottle. Kahuku is located between the 70 and 71 mile markers on Highway 11.
When: Sat., Oct. 21, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Registration required by Oct. 13).
Where: Kahuku Unit

Lau Hala. Join park staff and learn one of the great traditional arts of Hawaii, ulana lau hala. Hawaiians have used the hala (pandanus) tree to create many useful and beautiful items for centuries. Learn to weave lau hala and take home your own piece of lau hala art. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Fire and Dry Conditions Prompt Road Closures and Precautions at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Due to escalating fire danger in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, park officials have closed Hilina Pali Road from the Mauna Iki Trailhead and Mauna Loa Road at the gate past Kīpukapuaulu. Non-motorized day use such as hiking and bicycling will be permitted, and backcountry camping on Mauna Loa is allowed with a permit.

NPS Photo

In addition, ‘Āinahou Ranch access will be restricted to essential personnel and authorized vehicles only. Campfires are prohibited at Nāmakanipaio Campground and Kīpukapuaulu until further notice. The use of fuel stoves is allowed.

On Thursday afternoon, a fire burned nearly three acres of seasonally dry ‘ōhi‘a woodland and scattered koa trees, forcing park officials to close Mauna Loa Road from Highway 11 and temporarily evacuate Nāmakanipaio Campground. National Park Service and County of Hawai‘i fire crews responded to the blaze, located about ¼ mile west of Kīpukapuaulu. As of 8 a.m. Friday, the fire was 50 percent contained, and its spread had been halted.

No structures or homes were threatened. Park officials report that the fire was started unintentionally, and its cause is under investigation.

“We’ve had an extremely hot and dry summer in the park, and across the island which escalates the risk of fire,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Chief Ranger John Broward. “Hot components on motor vehicles have historically contributed to the increased risk of fire, and by reducing the number of vehicles, we can mitigate the potential for a catastrophic event,” he said.

Portions of Thurston Lava Tube and Trail Will Close Temporarily

Portions of Thurston Lava Tube (Nāhuku) and its rainforest loop trail will be closed starting Sept. 5 for approximately two weeks while park maintenance workers replace the electrical conduit and lighting system.

The bridge entrance to Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) is one of the most popular, and most photographed, destinations in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo Janice Wei

During the repairs, visitors will be able to explore the open section of the lava tube, which is one of the most popular destinations in the park. Visitors are advised to bring their own light source (cell phone lights are adequate). The nearby restrooms will remain open.

The new energy-efficient lighting system will simultaneously increase visitor safety by illuminating the interior, and protect the cultural integrity of the ‘ana (cave) by inhibiting the growth of non-native plant species.

The back portion of Nāhuku will be closed first, including the stairs leading out of the lava tube and the north section of rainforest trail. Visitors will be able to access the front section of the lava tube via the bridge entrance, and return the same way. Once work is complete in the back portion, work on the front section will start and visitors can access the rear portion of Nāhuku via the north trail and stairs.

The public will be notified of any updates. The park regrets any inconvenience to the public.

Thurston Lava Tube (Nāhuku) and its lush rainforest trail are popular features in the park, located near the summit of Kīlauea volcano off Crater Rim Drive. The lava tube was formed by a vigorous stream of magma that erupted from Kīlauea and crusted over about 550 years ago. When the magma source was exhausted, a long, hollow tunnel was left behind. The native rainforest surrounding Nāhuku is managed by the park as a Special Ecological Area, and is home to endemic plant, bird and insect species. Visitation is heaviest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and parking is limited to 30 minutes.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Seeks Witnesses to Tuesday Campground Fire

Fire officials at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park are seeking witnesses to a fire Tuesday afternoon that burned about ¼ acre of native koa and ‘ōhi‘a forest  behind a cabin at Nāmakanipaio Campground.

Smoke obscures the koa and ‘ōhi‘a forest at Nāmakanipaio Campground on Tuesday afternoon. NPS Photo/Luke Kittle

The fire started behind Cabin 3 shortly before 3 p.m., and was human-caused. A female and several children told firefighters they saw how it started, but left the scene before anyone could get her name and contact information.

The fire was quickly doused with water by County of Hawai‘i Engine 19, Volcano volunteer company 19, and National Park Service resources. No structures were burned, although flames came close to Cabin 3. No closures or evacuations were required.

The fire, which started behind Cabin 3 at Nāmakanipaio Campground, nearly reached the A-frame cabin. The campground and cabins are located within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and are managed by Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC. NPS Photo.

An investigation is underway. Witnesses and anyone with information about the fire are encouraged to call Park Dispatch at 808-985-6170. Callers may remain anonymous.

“With a hot and dry summer upon us, we’re definitely at an increased risk for fire in the park, and across the island,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Fire Management Officer Greg Funderburk. “It’s important to remember that while parts of the island might be getting rainfall, other areas are very dry and quite susceptible to fire,” he said.

Aloha in Abundance at Park’s 37th Annual Hawaiian Cultural Festival & BioBlitz

Sunny skies, outstanding views of Mauna Loa and Kīlauea, and an outpouring of aloha from all who participated in the Hawaiian Cultural Festival & BioBlitz, made for a joyful Saturday at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

NPS Photo(s) – Janice Wei

Although the official count isn’t yet available, park staff estimated that several thousand people, from keiki to kupuna, from local residents to first-time visitors, enjoyed the annual event that celebrates and perpetuates authentic Hawaiian culture. For the third year, the event connected people to science with BioBlitz field hikes.

The 37th annual Cultural Festival and BioBlitz were held on the grounds of Kilauea Military Camp in the park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and park entrance was free all day.

The festival’s theme, Hilina‘i Puna, Kālele iā Ka‘ū, (Puna leans and reclines on Ka‘ū), celebrates the two land districts that comprise the park. The event was sponsored by Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Explore Kahuku July – September 2017

Everyone is invited to participate in the free guided hikes, “Coffee Talks” and ‘Ike Hana No‘eau Hawaiian cultural programs in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, from July through September 2017. Visitors can also explore Kahuku on their own on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection and a snack are recommended for all hikes. Entrance and all programs are free.

Participate in ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) Hawaiian cultural demonstrations at Kahuku on the third Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon, July 21, August 18, and September 15. Programs are free.

Get to know your park and your neighbors and join an informal “Coffee Talk” conversation on a wide variety of topics at Kahuku the last Friday of the month. Ka‘ū coffee, tea and pastries will be available for purchase. Coffee Talks are offered free on July 28, August 25, and September 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Palm Trail is a moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pastures along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail is offered July 23, August 6 and September 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

‘Ōhi‘a Lehua. Learn about the vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the ‘ōhi‘a tree, and the new disease of Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. Visitors will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku on this program, which is an easy, one-mile (or less) walk. The ‘Ōhi‘a Lehua program is offered July 9, August 13, and September 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Realms and Divisions of Kahuku. Experience the sense of place that evolves at the intersection of nature and culture on this moderately difficult two-mile, two-hour guided hike on the Kahuku Unit’s newest trail, Pu‘u Kahuku. Explore the realms and divisions of the traditional Hawaiian classification system at Kahuku. Bring a snack for the “talk story” segment of this hike. Offered July 15, August 5, and September 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

People and Land of Kahuku is a moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields, and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands – from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped, and restored this land. The guided hike is offered July 16, August 20 and September 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Birth of Kahuku. Explore the rich geologic history of Kahuku. Traverse the vast 1868 lava flow, see different volcano features and formations, and identify many parts of the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. Learn about the Hawaiian hotspot and the creation of Kahuku. This guided easy-to-moderate hike is offered July 22, August 12, and September 9 & 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole). Hike the Palm Trail and be inspired by a place where hulihia (catastrophic change) and kulia (restoration) can be observed as the land transitions from the 1868 lava flow and its pioneer plants, to deeper soil with more diverse and older flora. Learn about native plants and their significance in Hawaiian culture. This moderate hike is about two miles and takes two hours. The Nature & Culture program is offered July 29, August 27, and September 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Hi‘iaka & Pele. Discover two fascinating Hawaiian goddesses, sisters Pelehonuamea (Pele) and Hi‘iaka, and the natural phenomena they represent. Visitors will experience the sisters coming alive through the epic stories depicted in the natural landscape of Kahuku on this easy 1.7-mile walk on the main road in Kahuku. The Hi‘iaka and Pele program is offered July 30, August 26, and September 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Pu‘u o Lokuana is a short 0.4-mile hike to the top of the grassy cinder cone, Pu‘u o Lokuana. Learn about the formation and various uses of this hill over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka‘ū. This hike is offered August 19 and September 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Keep up with Kahuku events and visit the calendar on the park website, https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/kahuku-hikes.htm, and download the Kahuku Site Bulletin https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/upload/2013_11_05-Kahuku-Site-Bulletin.pdf.

Pu‘u Pua‘i Overlook Reopens to Public

The Pu‘u Pua‘i Overlook at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has reopened after being closed since February to protect breeding nēnē (endangered Hawaiian geese) in the area.

A couple enjoys the newly reopened overlook. NPS Photos

During the closure, the nēnē parents successfully raised their single gosling and the family has now moved on to their summer grounds.

It’s been a decade since the last gosling was reared in the vicinity, and that nēnē is the grandfather of this year’s gosling, according to Kathleen Misajon, wildlife biologist at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

The young nēnē gosling and its parents near Pu‘u Pua‘i ​Overlook on Feb. 6, 2017

“This year’s gosling was the fifth generation of the same nēnē family I’ve monitored over the years. After a 10-year hiatus, it is really exciting to see this female return to a favored family spot,” Misajon said.

In 1952, only 30 nēnē remained statewide.  In the 1970s, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park began efforts to save the species from extinction. Today, more than 250 wild birds thrive in the park from sea level to around 8,000 feet. There are more than 2,500 nēnē statewide.

During the closure, the park’s facilities maintenance team made improvements to the popular deck, which overlooks Kīlauea Iki crater and trail. Missing boards were replaced, and the deck was painted prior to the reopening.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park facilities maintenance team repairs Pu‘u Pua‘i Overlook prior to the reopening.

Pu‘u Pua‘i is a massive reddish-brown cindercone that formed during an eruption at Kīlauea Iki crater in 1959. It is visible from many areas along Crater Rim and Kīlauea Iki trails.

37th Annual Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival & BioBlitz

Save the date for the free 37th annual Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival & BioBlitz, Saturday, July 8, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Kilauea Military Camp.

The festival’s theme, Hilina‘i Puna, Kālele iā Ka‘ū, (Puna leans and reclines on Ka‘ū), celebrates the two land districts that comprise the national park. People of all ages and districts are invited to enjoy a day of traditional mele (music), hula, and Hawaiian cultural demonstrations, crafts, and games. This year’s festival will again include a “BioBlitz,” a chance to join scientists and cultural practitioners in the field and discover the diversity of biology, geology and culture of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

The 37th annual cultural festival showcases an extraordinarily talented line-up of local performers. Hālau Ulumamo o Hilo Palikū will dance their powerful hula kāhiko, and kūpuna hula group Haunani’s Aloha Expressions also take the stage. Renowned solo musicians Kenneth Makuakāne and Lito Arkangel will sing and play instruments, and the “Songbird of Miloli‘i,” Aunty Diana Aki, closes the festival.

Keiki to kupuna can participate in authentic Hawaiian cultural activities like ku‘i kalo (pounding poi), lomilomi (massage), ‘ohe kāpala (Hawaiian bamboo stamping), play Hawaiian games, discover lā‘au lapa‘au (medicine from plants), make a small kāhili (feather standard), weave lei, and more. All cultural festival activities are located at the grassy lawn and ball field area at Kilauea Military Camp.

The BioBlitz expert-led field inventories will be offered, and include Birds of Kīlauea by Sight and Sound; Nā Mea Kanu o Ka Hula (Plants of Hula); an ADA-friendly inventory, Hawaiian Adze Production, and more. Free registration will soon be available through the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park website, www.fhvnp.org. Visitors can learn more about conservation and biodiversity through fun, interactive exhibits sponsored by many of Hawai‘i’s leading conservation organizations on the festival grounds.

The BioBlitz field inventories run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the cultural festival is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Saturday, July 8. Entrance into the park and all events are free.

Make sure to wear sunscreen and a hat. Bring water, rain jacket, and ground mat or chair. No pets. Lunch and beverages will be available for sale.  This wonderful family experience is a drug- and alcohol-free event.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Free Summer Junior Ranger Programs Begin June 6 and June 13

Keiki from ages seven to 13 years old are invited to become “Next Generation Stewards” in the free summer junior ranger program through Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. A fun-filled, three-day program for keiki ages seven to 10 is June 6-8, and a program for youngsters ages 11 to 13 is June 13-15.

Island youth listen as Ranger Noah explains how shards of volcanic glass, called Pele’s Hair, are formed. NPS Photo by Janice Wei

Each age group begins Tuesday and ends on Thursday. For the first two days, “Next Generation Stewards” begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. On the last day (Thursday), the program begins at 11:30 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. The programs will start and end at the Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai.

The summer junior ranger program is designed to encourage a child’s enthusiasm for conservation by connecting the child with park resources and staff, and to inspire his or her appreciation of what is uniquely Hawaiian by exploring the natural and cultural heritage of Hawai‘i.

Participants must bring and be able to carry their own day pack with water, snacks, lunch, and raingear, and hike for age-appropriate distances over uneven terrain at a leisurely pace. All interested applicants must submit an application to register. Contact Education Specialist Gwen “Lanakila” Anderson at (808) 985-6020 or email gwen_anderson@nps.gov for information and an application.

Applications are due by noon on Wednesday, May 17, and selections will be made, and parents notified, on May 18.

The summer “Next Generation Stewards” junior ranger program is co-sponsored by the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association and the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Park entrance fees apply.

Explore Kahuku at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – April – June 2017

Everyone is invited to participate in the free guided hikes, “Coffee Talks” and ‘Ike Hana No‘eau Hawaiian cultural programs in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, from April through June 2017. Visitors can also explore Kahuku on their own on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A visitor explores the geologic formations of Kahuku 1868 lava flow in Kahuku. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection and a snack are recommended for all hikes. Entrance and all programs are free.

New! Join us for ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) Hawaiian cultural demonstrations at Kahuku on the third Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon. On April 21 learn how to make tī leaf lei; on May 19, learn to make a miniature kāhili (feather standard); and come weave a small decorative fish out of niu (coconut fronds) on June 23. Programs are free.

New! Get to know your park and your neighbors and join an informal “Coffee Talk” conversation on a wide variety of topics at Kahuku the last Friday of the month. Ka‘ū coffee, tea and pastries will be available for purchase. Coffee Talks are offered free on April 28, May 26, and June 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Palm Trail is a moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pastures along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail is offered April 23, May 28, and June 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Pu‘u o Lokuana is a short 0.4-mile hike to the top of the grassy cinder cone, Pu‘u o Lokuana. Learn about the formation and various uses of this hill over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka‘ū. This hike is offered May 20 and June 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Hi‘iaka & Pele. Discover two fascinating Hawaiian goddesses, sisters Pelehonuamea (Pele) and Hi‘iaka, and the natural phenomena they represent. Visitors will experience the sisters coming alive through the epic stories depicted in the natural landscape of Kahuku on this easy 1.7-mile walk on the main road in Kahuku. The Hi‘iaka and Pele program is offered April 8, May 7 and June 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

People and Land of Kahuku is a moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields, and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands – from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped, and restored this land. The guided hike is offered April 9, May 21 and June 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Realms and Divisions of Kahuku. Experience the sense of place that evolves at the intersection of nature and culture on this moderately difficult two-mile, two-hour guided hike on the Kahuku Unit’s newest trail, Pu‘u Kahuku. Explore the realms and divisions of the traditional Hawaiian classification system at Kahuku. Bring a snack for the “talk story” segment of this hike. Offered April 15 and May 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

‘Ōhi‘a Lehua. Learn about the vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the ‘ōhi‘a tree, and the new disease of Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. Visitors will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku on this program, which is an easy, one-mile (or less) walk. The ‘Ōhi‘a Lehua program is offered April 16, May 14 and June 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Birth of Kahuku. Explore the rich geologic history of Kahuku. Traverse the vast 1868 lava flow, see different volcano features and formations, and identify many parts of the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. Learn about the Hawaiian hotspot and the creation of Kahuku. This guided easy-to-moderate hike is offered April 22, May 27 and June 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole). Hike the Palm Trail and be inspired by a place where hulihia (catastrophic change) and kulia (restoration) can be observed as the land transitions from the 1868 lava flow and its pioneer plants, to deeper soil with more diverse and older flora. Learn about native plants and their significance in Hawaiian culture. This moderate hike is about two miles and takes two hours. The Nature & Culture program is offered April 29, May 13 and June 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Keep up with Kahuku events and visit the calendar on the park website, https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/kahuku-hikes.htm, and download the Kahuku Site Bulletin: https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/upload/2013_11_05-Kahuku-Site-Bulletin.pdf.

Tour Group Caught in Closed Area in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A tour guide based in France and a tour group of 13 people were caught early Monday morning sneaking into the closed area at Halema‘uma‘u, the erupting summit crater of Kīlauea volcano.

Visitors observing the summit eruption of Kīlauea from the observation deck at Jaggar Museum, one mile away from Halema‘uma‘u Crater. NPS Photo

National Park Service law enforcement officers spotted the group just after midnight, and issued citations for violating the terms of the closure to all 14 people. The tour guide was issued additional citations for operating a non-permitted business in the park and creating a hazardous condition. All 14 were escorted out of the park.

The 44-year-old male tour guide, affiliated with the French tour company Adventure et Volcans, must make a mandatory court appearance and faces a maximum penalty of $5,000 and six months in jail. His name is being withheld as the investigation continues. The violation of closure citations are $100 each, with a $30 processing fee.

“This is a serious violation,” said Chief Ranger John Broward. “Areas surrounding Halema‘uma‘u Crater are closed because of extremely hazardous volcanic conditions that include high concentrations of toxic gases and particulates, ongoing volcanic explosions and frequent collapses of the crater walls,” he said.

Explosions from Halema‘uma‘u can occur anytime, without warning. Last August, a summit explosion hurled a layer of volcanic rock, lava bombs and molten spatter nearly 300 feet beyond the crater rim, and covered an area about 720 feet wide along the rim. It destroyed the power system of a U.S. Geological Survey instrument that was used for scientific research and monitoring volcanic activity. Last October, two explosions blasted lava spatter, rock and glassy particulates a quarter mile from the crater to the closed portion of Crater Rim Drive. In November, spatter from another lava lake explosion damaged the cable on a USGS webcam located on the rim of the crater.

Halema‘uma‘u Crater, a 4.7-mile section of Crater Rim Drive, and sections of the Halema‘uma‘u and Crater Rim trails, have been closed since the most recent summit eruption began in 2008.

“Visitors need to be aware that, while much of the attention lately has been on the hazards of the 61g ocean entry at Kamokuna, the park staff remains very concerned about the ongoing hazards in the vicinity of Halema‘uma‘u,” Chief Ranger Broward said. “Rangers will continue to monitor and take appropriate action to reduce the occurrence of risky behavior in both areas.”

Since July 2016, rangers have issued 35 citations for closure violations at Halema‘uma‘u, and nearly 100 citations at Kamokuna.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Roadway & Parking Lot Striping Work Begins Monday

Visitors and tour operators to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park are advised that a project to re-stripe roadways and parking lots at Kīlauea Visitor Center and Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) begins Monday, March 6 and will cause traffic delays up to 15 minutes.

Thurston Lava Tube

Work begins Monday at the Kīlauea Visitor Center’s (KVC) parking lot. When the KVC striping is complete, the project at Nāhuku will begin. Work should be complete by early May.

An NPS report shows that 1,832,660 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2015 spent $151,246,200 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,834 jobs on island, and had a cumulative benefit to the local community of $189,391,100.

February 2017 Cultural & After Dark in the Park Programs at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park (ADIP) programs with the public throughout 2017.

ADIP and Hawaiian cultural programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

Ethnobiology of Hawaiian Feather Artifacts. Feather artifacts made by a variety of Pacific Island cultures are among the most beautiful of human creations, and it is often said that feather objects made by the Hawaiian people are the most stunning in existence. Sheila Conant, Professor Emerita of the Department of Biology at the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa, will discuss various types of feather artifacts, the animals and plants from which they were made and how different types of artifacts were constructed. She will also consider the possible impact of feather collection on native birds. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Twist a Hau Bracelet. Transform hau, used for traditional Hawaiian rope material, into a lovely bracelet, and learn how this strong and fibrous native plant has many versatile uses. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., Feb. 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

The Hylaeus Project and the Newly Endangered Bees of Hawai‘i. Last October, seven species of Hylaeus, the yellow-faced bees of Hawai‘i, became the first bees to ever be listed as endangered. Natural historian Lisa Schonberg co-authored petitions to get them listed, and traveled to Hawai‘i with visual artist Aidan Koch. The pair documented Hylaeus from Kaua‘i to the Ka‘ū Desert via music, photography, writing and art to raise awareness of the endemic bees. Lisa will present their Hylaeus Project After Dark in the Park, an ongoing presentation series at Hawai‘i Volcanoes. Free.

  • When: Tues., Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Lito Arkangel in Concert. Entertainer and songwriter Lito Arkangel shares his original compositions and other Hawaiian favorites. Lito hails from the former sugar plantation town of ‘Ōla‘a, now known as Kea‘au. His love for Hawaiian music started as a young keiki, turning pages for his tūtū wahine (grandmother) while she played piano, and from decades of backyard jam sessions. Lito has since established himself as a popular entertainer throughout Hawai‘i. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.

  • When: Wed., Feb. 15 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day. Keiki 17 and younger and their families are invited to explore the Upper Palm Trail in the park’s Kahuku Unit, and learn to weave a Hawaiian lei. Call (808) 985-6020 to register by February 2.

Families who visit Kahuku can look forward to uncrowded trails and excellent views of Kā Lae. NPS Photo/David Boyle

Bring lunch, snacks, water, light raingear, a re-usable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, long pants and shoes. Sponsored by the park and the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Free.

  • When: Sat., Feb. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Where: Kahuku Unit

Weave a Tī Leaf Lei. Learn how to create a tī leaf lei, one of the most iconic and popular lei of Hawai‘i. Park rangers and staff from the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association will lead the instruction and provide the materials. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., Feb. 22 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Volcanoes National Park Identifies Victim of Fatal Two-Vehicle Crash

The male victim of a fatal two-vehicle accident that occurred in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Saturday afternoon has been identified as 65-year-old Paul Hernandez of New Jersey.

Nāmakanipaio Campground (NPS Photo)

National Park Service rangers are seeking witnesses to the crash which happened on Highway 11 near the intersection of Nāmakanipaio Campground around 1 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 21.

Hernandez was traveling northbound on Highway 11 in a white Hyundai Elantra sedan. According to a witness, the Hyundai left its lane of travel as if doing a U-turn, and was struck by a blue Toyota Scion headed south, driven by a 33-year-old local male. Hernandez was fatally injured upon impact. The local male was transported by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center.

Anyone with information regarding this accident is asked to call Park Dispatch at (808) 985-6170.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Public Notice of Flight Operations

Photos from the end of Chain of Craters Road within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by NPS Volunteer Eric Fandrick

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park announces the following upcoming flight plans for the end of January 2017:

  • Jan. 23, between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., and Jan. 26 between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., to shuttle equipment and camp supplies to Keauhou for invasive plant control work at the coast
  • Jan. 23, between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., to remove old fence material from ‘Ōla‘a Tract
  • Jan. 23, 24, 25 and 26, between 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., to shuttle crew and remove fence material and camp equipment from petrel subcolony on Mauna Loa at about 9,000-ft. elevation
  • Jan. 24, between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., for ungulate surveys and control work in Kahuku Unit, between 3,000- and 7,000 ft. elevation
  • Jan. 24, between noon and 3:30 p.m., to shuttle fence material and camp supplies to Great Crack boundary fence
  • Jan. 24, between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., to shuttle equipment and materials for interpretive display near the Ka‘ū Desert Trailhead
  • Jan. 25, between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., to shuttle personnel, fence material, and water tank to Kahuku Unit silversword exclosure and along the Kahuku-Kapapala boundary
  • Jan. 26, between noon and 4 p.m., for invasive fountain grass surveys from coastal areas to southwest boundary below 3,000-ft. elevation

In addition, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory may conduct flight operations over Kīlauea and Mauna Loa to assess volcanic activity and maintain instrumentation.

The park regrets any noise impact to residents and park visitors. Dates and times are subject to change based on aircraft availability and weather.

Management of the park requires the use of aircraft to monitor and research volcanic activity, conduct search-and-rescue missions and law enforcement operations, support management of natural and cultural resources, and to maintain backcountry facilities.

New Coastal Lava Viewing Area Opens in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Park rangers opened a newly established lava viewing area at the Kamokuna ocean entry in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park today, following a two-day closure caused by a large lava delta collapse on New Year’s Eve.

New lava cascade at Kamokuna in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Monday, January 2. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

The new viewing area is approximately 900 feet east of a cascade of lava pouring into the ocean, and about 60 feet inland of the coastal cliffs. Rangers, in conjunction with USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists, thoroughly assessed the area, and established the new viewing site with white rope lines and numerous signs that clearly mark hazardous closed areas.

Visitors are strongly urged to stay out of closed areas and heed all posted warning signs and park rangers.

Visitors who do not heed warnings not only endanger themselves but the lives of others, including our park rangers, who work tirelessly to ensure a safe visitor experience,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

Visitors begin the five-mile hike to Kamokuna shortly after the park opened the lava viewing area on Tuesday, January 3. Today marks the 34th anniversary of the eruption of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent on Kīlauea, the source of the lava flows going into the ocean today. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

After the delta collapse on New Year’s Eve, a group of five visitors ignored rangers and warning signs and slipped beneath the white rope lines into a closed area at the coast. Two park rangers had to chase after them, and made them turn around – 15 minutes before the area they were standing on collapsed into the ocean.

In addition to the threat of another land collapse, the toxic plume of volcanic particles and acidic gas generated by lava mixed with ocean water is very dangerous, and irritates the lungs, skin and eyes. Land collapses, which trigger tsunami-like waves, and the toxic gas plume, are also a serious threat to aircraft and boats. There is currently a 1,000-foot above-ground-level temporary flight restriction at Kamokuna.

HVO scientists estimate that nearly all of the 26-acre lava delta is now gone, along with more than four acres of older coastal cliff area, which included the former lava viewing site. The collapse on New Year’s Eve started in the afternoon and lasted several hours, creating blasts of volcanic rock and a series of damaging waves, in addition to a thick, dark plume of debris and gas.

It is closer from the east entrance to reach the new lava viewing area within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. From the east, or Kalapana/County of Hawai‘i side, visitors must hike about 4.2 miles one way along the gravel emergency access road. This entrance is open daily from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. From the park, or west side, visitors can hike out from the Coastal Ranger Station at the end of Chain of Craters Road, about five miles one-way. About one mile of the hike goes inland of the gas plume over hardened, uneven lava flows. The park entrance is open 24 hours a day.

Hikers need to be prepared for a long trek. Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots, gloves to protect the hands, and long pants to protect against lava rock abrasions.  Carry plenty of water (three to four quart/liters per person). Wear sunblock, sunglasses and a hat. Visitors who plan to stay after dark need a flashlight and/or headlight with extra batteries.

For hiking tips, visit the park website https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/upload/Hiking-Tips.pdf. For County of Hawai‘i Lava Viewing information, call (808) 430-1966. For the latest eruption updates, visit the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php. Monitor air quality at http://www.hawaiiso2network.com/.