Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Announces Partial Park Closures as Tropical Storm Darby Nears

To keep visitors and employees safe as Tropical Storm Darby approaches Hawai‘i Island, park officials will close all backcountry areas and certain roads in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, effective 5 p.m. today, Friday, July 22.

Darby 722 5am

Park closures are as follows:

  • Kūlanaokuaiki Campground & Nāmakanipaio Cabins and Campgrounds
  • Hilina Pali Road
  • Chain of Craters Road at the Crater Rim Drive intersection
  • Lava viewing area and Coastal Ranger Station
  • Entire backcountry, including all coastal sites, Nāpau and Mauna Loa
  • Mauna Loa Road after Kīpukapuaulu
  • Kahuku

Closures will remain in effect until Tropical Storm Darby has passed and conditions are safe. Additional closures may be warranted as the storm gets closer, and any damage is assessed. Volcano House and Kīlauea Military Camp will remain open for registered guests.

“Although we aren’t closing Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in its entirety, we strongly encourage visitors to consider changing their plans if they were planning to visit Friday afternoon or this weekend,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.

Popular visitor areas at the summit of Kīlauea will remain open at this time, including Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Kīlauea Visitor Center and the Jaggar Museum and observation deck. Visitors can check the park website, www.nps.gov/havo, for the latest information on openings, or call (808) 985-6000.

The National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Warning Friday morning for Hawai‘i Island. Forecasters predict heavy rains, flash floods, high surf, and strong, damaging winds. For updates on Tropical Storm Darby, go to http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/tc_graphics/latest_w.php?stormid=EP052016.

For Civil Defense updates for the County of Hawai‘i, go to http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/civil-defense/.

Fee-Free Weekend of Hawaiian Music, Culture & Science at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park invites everyone to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service through music, culture and science on Friday and Saturday, August 26 and 27…absolutely free!

Hālau Hula o Akaunu & Kumu Hula Manaikalani Kalua in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Sami Steinkamp

Hālau Hula o Akaunu & Kumu Hula Manaikalani Kalua in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Sami Steinkamp

A Nā Leo Manu (“Heavenly Voices”) Hawaiian concert series kicks off the special weekend festivities Friday evening, Aug. 26 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Kīlauea Military Camp’s Kīlauea Theater – and celebrates the 100th anniversary of Kīlauea Military Camp.

At 6 p.m., Kumu Hula Manaiakalani Kalua and Hālau Hula o Akaunu perform ‘oli (chant) and hula that follow the Pele migration from Kahiki to Hawai‘i. Manai, who teaches for the Center for Hawai‘i Life Styles at Hawai‘i Community College, will also discuss how Hawaiian culture and science intersect.

Renowned musician Kenneth Makuakāne follows, and performs his beautiful mele (songs) until 8 p.m., then singer and songwriter Mark Yamanaka caps off the evening with his original and classic Hawaiian songs until 9 p.m.

In addition, the new Mele Ho‘oheno-Songs of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa CD will be released and available for sale. This collection of original Hawaiian songs was created by participants of the Haku Mele Hawaiian songwriting workshops this summer, under the guidance of Kaliko Trapp-Beamer and Kenneth Makuakāne.

Saturday, August 27 is the free Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival & BioBlitz. This year’s festival honors the park’s centennial anniversary and connects visitors and the community to the culture, biology and geology of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.

“We are so excited to celebrate the centennial anniversaries of the National Park Service and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park the Hawaiian way, with music, culture and community,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Hawaiians have lived as stewards of this treasured landscape for centuries, and we hope everyone can join us for a festive weekend of fun, learning and camaraderie,” she said.

Themed E Ho‘omau (to perpetuate; to continue in a way that causes good to be long-lasting), the 36th annual cultural festival will be held near Kīlauea Visitor Center, and is all about sharing authentic Hawaiian cultural practices. More than a dozen cultural practitioners will demonstrate how native Hawaiians integrate the natural world into their traditions. Interactive demonstrations include lei wili (lei making); mākau (Hawaiian fishhook); pala‘ie (loop and ball game); how to make and play the ‘ohe hano ihu (Hawaiian nose flute); ulana niu (coconut frond weaving), and much more.

Festival performers include Kumu Hula Mamo Brown and Hālau Ulumamo o Hilo Palikū; Kenneth Makuakāne; Hālau o Akaunu and Kumu Hula Manaiakalani Kalua;  Kai Ho‘opi‘i; Haunani Medeiros and kupuna (elders) of Haunani’s Hula Expressions, and Diana Aki.

The Cultural Festival also showcases the intersection of culture and science in Hawai‘i. The “BioBlitz” is a fun and hands-on opportunity for families and individuals to observe and document the biodiversity that thrives in the lava flows and native rainforests of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. Meet and work alongside scientists and alaka‘i (experts) and discover an exciting array of life the park protects.

Choose from more than two dozen field inventories like “Six Legs at the Summit,” a birding excursion called “That Thing with Feathers,” and “Bebop Botany Walk on Crater Rim Trail.” The field inventories are free, and are led by experts at the forefront of conservation, science and traditional Hawaiian culture. Registration is required; sign up on the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park website.

Families and visitors can further discover how science and culture combine by visiting the BioBlitz science and cultural booths at the festival. Meet representatives of the ‘Alalā Project, Mokupāpapa Discovery Center, and others, to learn about important conservation efforts statewide. Visit Hale Ho‘ike, the BioBlitz “living laboratory” where Saturday’s discoveries will be documented, and look through a microscope at some of the tiniest but important findings.

The BioBlitz field inventories run from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the Cultural Festival/BioBlitz is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Sat., Aug. 27. Entrance and all events Friday and Saturday are free and family-friendly. Please, no coolers, pets or alcohol.

The Nā Leo Manu (“Heavenly Voices”) Hawaiian concert series and the Hawaiian Cultural Festival & BioBlitz are generously supported by the park’s nonprofit partners, the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the Hawaii Pacific Parks Association.

In addition, the National Park Service (NPS) invites everyone to enjoy all 412 national parks to celebrate its 100th birthday for free. All fee-charging parks, including Hawai‘i Volcanoes, Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park in West Hawai‘i, and Haleakalā National Park on Maui, are free from Thurs., Aug. 25 (the centennial anniversary of the NPS) through Sun., Aug. 28. That’s four fee-free days!

2016 is the 100th anniversary for Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. To find out what’s happening throughout 2016, visit the park website. It’s also the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and to learn about centennial events at other national parks, visit FindYourPark.

Volcanoes National Park Offers More Tips On Viewing Lava

Visitors may hike and bicycle along the gravel emergency access route at the end of Chain of Craters Road to view and access lava as it flows down the Pūlama Pali and spreads out onto the coastal lava plain in the national park, and towards the ocean.

Visitors enjoying slow-flowing lava on the coastal flow field in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo.

Visitors enjoying slow-flowing lava on the coastal flow field in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo.

From Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, the easiest vantage point to view this current eruptive activity is from a distance at the end of Chain of Craters Road. Visitors are encouraged to stop at the Coastal Ranger Station (CRS) to talk with park rangers, view eruption and hiking tip exhibits, and watch a four-minute lava safety video.  A public spotting scope is available to view the eruptive activity from a distance, as staffing allows. The park is open 24 hours a day.

Hiking to the lava from the park is allowed, but it’s not for everyone. From the CRS, it’s a long, hot, and grueling 10- to 12-mile roundtrip hike. Hikers can walk along the gravel emergency access route for about 3.8 miles, and then turn inland at a light beacon which marks the closest point to the active flow front, currently about a ½ mile from the route. The flow field is a rough hike, with deep earth cracks, uneven terrain, and razor-sharp lava from older flows.

Rangers placed another light beacon 4.8 miles down the emergency access route, about 50 yards inland from the road, as a suggested starting point for hikers from the Kalapana side. The county Kalapana Lava Viewing Area near the park’s eastern boundary also offers a vantage point of the current eruption, and is open daily from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Hikers are urged to be prepared, and to head out in daylight. There is no trail or marked route to the lava, which continues to flow and change daily. It is easy to become disoriented after dark. Each person needs about a gallon of water, sturdy closed-toe hiking shoes or boots, gloves to protect the hands, and long pants to protect against lava rock abrasions. Wear sunblock, sunglasses and a hat. Each person needs a flashlight and/or headlight with extra batteries.

“If you’re planning an excursion to the lava flows, go during daylight hours,” advised Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando, who hiked out across the lava plain earlier this week. “It’s still a long, tough hike, but the viewing has been excellent by day,” she said.

Experienced bicyclists can also use the emergency access route, but the loose gravel makes it a challenging ride for inexperienced riders. Cyclists are urged to ride during daylight hours only. Motorized vehicles are prohibited.

Orlando also reminds hikers to respect Hawaiian culture. Many native Hawaiians believe that lava is the kinolau, or physical embodiment, of volcano goddess Pele. Poking lava with sticks and other objects is disrespectful. It’s also illegal in national parks. Federal law prohibits “possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging or disturbing” natural and cultural resources (36 CFR § 2.1). Pets and unmanned aerial systems, or drones, are also prohibited on the flow field in the national park.

Volcanic gas is another hazard, particularly to people with heart or respiratory problems, and infants, young children and pregnant women. If air irritates, smells bad or makes breathing difficult, visitors should leave the area.

Click to view USGS Video

Click to view USGS Video

Volcanoes are dynamic and ever-changing natural phenomena. The information provided can change at any time.

For hiking tips, visit the park website https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/upload/Hiking-Tips.pdf. 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/.

“What NOT to Wear” When Visiting the Lava Flow – Don’t Poke or Prod Pele

Visitors are reminded that lava rock is extremely sharp and jagged, and will cause deep lacerations to your skin. If you decide to hike out to the coastal lava flows – or anywhere in the park – be sure to wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes or boots and of course bring plenty of water, and be prepared!

Not smart!

Not smart!

Lava update: the 61G flow front is still active on the coastal lava plains, and is accessible on foot from the park at the end of Chain of Craters Road. Hikers can expect a 5-to 6-mile trek one way to reach the flows.

The gravel Emergency Access Route can be used by hikers and bicyclists, but no motorized vehicles or motorized equipment is allowed, except by park staff working in the area. From the gravel road, it’s another ½ mile hike to reach the lava over very uneven and rough lava rock terrain, fraught with deep cracks and unstable rock.

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

Check with rangers at the Coastal Ranger Station before heading out, and keep a safe distance. (Due to the road surface and safety issues, only experienced cyclists should use the road, and bicycle use should be limited to daylight hours only).

Park rangers recommend day hikes vs. night hikes, but if you do stay after dark, ensure you have flashlights and extra batteries for every person in your group. Cell phone lights are inadequate for such a long hike. It is still closer to hike in from the Kalapana lava viewing area.

And please respect the Hawaiian culture. Do not poke or prod the lava flows with sticks, or roast food on the lava flows.

After dipping an egg beater and other objects into lava flow, a Pahoa woman was arrested on Thursday, October 30, for trespassing. Ruth Crawford ignored warnings about the lava flow and breached police-enforced barricades with her friends to gawk at the lava flow that had been threatening the town of Pahoa.

After dipping an egg beater and other objects into lava flow, a Pahoa woman was arrested on Thursday, October 30, 2014 for trespassing. Ruth Crawford ignored warnings about the lava flow and breached police-enforced barricades with her friends to gawk at the lava flow that had been threatening the town of Pahoa.

It’s also illegal to possess, destroy, injure, deface, remove, dig or disturb natural and cultural resources from their natural state.

Be prepared, stay safe, and have fun! And remember, Kīlauea volcano is also erupting from its summit at Halema‘uma‘u Crater. It is a very easy and beautiful experience to view the nighttime glow of the lava lake from the safety of the Jaggar Museum observation deck.

Rangers Urge Park Visitors to View Latest Lava Flows from Safe Distance

The newest lava from Kīlauea volcano is drawing visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, as flows from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent in the remote east rift zone stream down the Pulama Pali, spread onto the coastal lava plain and slowly advance towards the Pacific Ocean.

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

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

Although portions of the flows are within the park, the closest viewing is from the County of Hawai‘i Kalapana Lava Viewing Area off Highway 130, near the eastern border of Hawai‘i Volcanoes. The viewing area is open daily from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

From the park side, the easiest vantage point to view the flows, dubbed “61G” by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, is at the end of Chain of Craters Road, past the Hōlei Sea Arch, where the pavement ends and the gravel emergency access road begins. The park is open 24 hours a day.

Park rangers do not encourage visitors to hike out to the lava flows from either side, but to instead view them from a safe distance. From the park side, hikers can expect a grueling 10-mile roundtrip hike over very uneven and sharp lava rock terrain riddled with earth cracks. There is no trail, and it’s easy to get lost after dark.

“There’s definitely been an increase in injuries since the 61G lava activity amplified,” said Chief Ranger John Broward. “We responded to calls about turned ankles, lacerations, dehydration, and disoriented visitors in the coastal lava plains all weekend. It’s exceedingly important to plan ahead, have proper footwear, and bring plenty of water, or better yet, enjoy the show from the end of the road on either side,” he said.

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

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

Volcanic gas is another hazard, particularly to people with heart or respiratory problems, and infants, young children and pregnant women. If air irritates smells bad or makes breathing difficult, Broward said visitors should leave the area.

Although hikers are walking along the gravel road constructed as an emergency access route to access the flows, park management does not encourage its use.

For hiking tips, visit the park website https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/upload/Hiking-Tips.pdf. 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/

 

Volcanoes National Park Centennial Events for July

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016, and continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park (ADIP) programs with the public in July.

All 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:

Centennial Hike: Kīpukapuaulu, the Park’s First Special Ecological Area. Dr. Rhonda Loh leads an easy 1.2-mile hike through the park’s inaugural Special Ecological Area (SEA), Kīpukapuaulu. This forested area is considered a “hot spot” of biological diversity, with more native tree species per acre than any other forest in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The essence of this treasured habitat is captured in its name: kīpuka (island of ancient vegetation surrounded by a sea of younger lava flows), pua (flower), and ulu (growing)—a fertile oasis of flourishing plants. Sturdy footwear, water, light raingear, sun protection, and a snack are recommended. About two hours.

  • When: Sat., July 2, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Where: Meet at the Kīpukapuaulu trailhead
A park ranger demonstrates feather work. NPS Photo.

A park ranger demonstrates feather work. NPS Photo.

Kāpili Manu and Haku Hulu – Hawaiian Bird Catching and Feather Work. Join Park Ranger Noah Gomes and learn about the historic art of catching beautiful and unique birds for featherwork in Hawai‘i. Create a small piece of featherwork for yourself. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., July 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

What’s Buggin’ the Mountain? The alpine and subalpine environments on Maunakea support a diversity of native and endemic insects. Heather Stever and Jessica Kirkpatrick present their thesis research on the diversity of insects on different plant types in the subalpine community, and the distribution of wekiu bugs on cinder cones in the alpine stone desert. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., July 12, 2016 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Kanaka Tree Performs. Come and listen to Hawaiian music by Kanaka Tree. Kiliona Moku Young, T.R. Ireland, Kalei Young and the Young ‘ohana will blend the classic sounds of Hawaiian music with fresh rhythms and melodies. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.

  • When: Wed., July 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Centennial Series After Dark in the Park: Salt Production Sites Along the Rugged Park Coastline. Park Archeologist Summer Roper reveals the importance and history of pa‘akai (salt) production sites in the park.

  • When: Tues., July 26, 2016 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Ku‘i Kalo – Pound Poi. Made from the root of the kalo plant, poi is the traditional staple of the Hawaiian diet. Experience this nutritious and special food. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., July 27 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Centennial Hike: Salt Production Sites Along the Rugged Park Coastline. Join Park Archeologist Summer Roper on a two-mile roundtrip hike to the extensive remnants of pa‘akai gathering sites along the coast, and learn how the residents of this area used a unique method to extract the salt – a crucial resource to sustaining life on this dense lava landscape. Sturdy footwear, water, light raingear, sun protection, and a snack are recommended.  About 90 minutes, moderately easy, expect hot and dry summer conditions.

  • When: Sat., July 30, 2016 at 9 a.m.
  • Where: Meet at the parking lot after Pu‘u Loa Petroglyph Trailhead, on Chain of Craters Road

2016 is the centennial anniversary for Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and the year-long Centennial After Dark in the Park & Hike Series. To find out what’s happening throughout 2016, visit the park website. It’s also the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. To find centennial events at other national parks, visit FindYourPark.com.

HVNP’s Abbreviated Final General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision Signed

The Record of Decision (ROD) approving the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Abbreviated Final General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/Environmental Impact Statement (Final GMP/WS/EIS) was signed into approval on May 24, 2016. This plan provides long-term management guidance about the preservation and use of this national treasure, UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.

Click to read

Click to read

Over the past several years, many people have participated in the planning process through public meetings and formal comments received via mail, comment forms, and website forums. The National Park Service (NPS) released the Draft GMP/WS/EIS in May 2015 and the Abbreviated Final GMP/WS/EIS in March 2016. The approved plan is identified as the “selected action” in the ROD and as the “NPS preferred alternative” in the Final GMP/WS/EIS. The ROD includes a description of the selected action, synopses of other alternatives considered, the basis for the decision, a description of the environmentally preferable alternative, a summary description of measures designed to minimize environmental harm and an overview of public involvement in the decision-making process.

“Having a comprehensive plan to guide management decisions as we enter our next 100 years is an important step in protecting Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park for future generations,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

While work may start on some plan elements, Orlando said implementing the plan will not happen all at once. “It’s likely to take many years, as funds and resources become available,” she said.

The Record of Decision and related General Management Plan documents can be viewed at the website: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/havogmp.

Nēnē Class of 2016 Takes Flight

It’s springtime and nēnē have begun to reappear in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, after being less visible since fall and winter, when they hunker down to nest, raise goslings and grow a new set of flight feathers (molt).

An adult pair of nēnē in pūkiawe bush near Crater Rim Drive in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon

An adult pair of nēnē in pūkiawe bush near Crater Rim Drive in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon

Nēnē have started to flock, and younger nēnē are taking their first flights. Drivers are reminded to slow down and watch out for the native geese on roadways in and out of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Two young fledglings were killed last Saturday on Crater Rim Drive, between Kīlauea Overlook and Jaggar Museum, by an unknown motorist. The young birds, which were around six months old, were discovered by a park ranger.

“Young fledglings test out their wings and explore new territories this time of year,” said Wildlife Biologist Kathleen Misajon, Manager of the Nēnē Recovery Program at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. “The park uses nēnē crossing signs to alert motorists to key areas, however, until the young birds learn the ropes from their parents, the areas they choose to land can be unpredictable. It’s so important to be extra vigilant when driving so these kinds of accidents don’t happen,” Misajon said.

Nēnē, the largest native land animal in Hawai‘i, are present in the park and other locations on Hawai‘i Island year-round. They blend in with their surroundings and can be difficult for drivers to spot. They are federally listed as endangered.

Nēnē crossing signs posted throughout the park call attention to roadside areas frequented by nēnē. These include Crater Rim Drive, Chain of Craters Road, and sections of Highway 11. Motorists are urged to use extra caution in signed nēnē crossing areas, and to obey posted speed limits.

A young nēnē fledgling tests its wings in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon

A young nēnē fledgling tests its wings in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon

By 1952, only 30 birds remained statewide.  Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park began efforts to recover the species in the 1970s.  The Nēnē Recovery Program continues today, and more than 250 birds thrive in the park from sea level to around 8,000 feet. More than 2,500 nēnē exist statewide.

Wild nēnē, the world’s rarest goose, are only found in Hawai‘i and are the last survivor of several other endemic geese. Their strong feet sport padded toes and reduced webbing, an adaptation that allows them to traverse rough terrain like lava plains. Most nēnē fly between nighttime roosts and daytime feeding grounds. Watch this short Public Service Announcement for more information. To report nēnē on the road in the park, call 808-985-6170. Outside the park, call 808-974-4221.

Visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2015 Creates $151,246,200 in Economic Benefits

A new National Park Service (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.

NPS Photo of visitors at Sulphur Banks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

NPS Photo of visitors at Sulphur Banks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

The park’s 2015 visitation is up 8.25 percent from 2014 (1,693,005 visitors), and reflects a steady trend of rising visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park since 2009. The park, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year along with the National Park Service, shares two of earth’s most active volcanoes, Hawaiian culture, and native ecosystems with local residents and visitors.

“We are pleased to again report an increase in both visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the important economic impact park visitors have by spending money and creating jobs in our local community,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.  “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s clearly a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities,” Orlando said.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economist Catherine Cullinane Thomas and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.  The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.

According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added and output effects by sector for national, state and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: http://go.nps.gov/vse or https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.

To learn more about national parks in Hawai‘i and how the National Park Service works with Hawai‘i communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/hawaii.

Entrance Fees Waived at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for National Park Week

Celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary – and the centennial of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park – during National Park Week, April 16-24. Entrance fees will be waived nine full days, and a “National Park Rx Day” will be held on Sunday, April 24.

Volcano at night

Visitors gather every night at the Jaggar Museum observation deck to witness the summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano from Halema‘uma‘u Crater. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours a day. NPS Photo/Michael Szoenyi

“There’s no better way to celebrate the centennial anniversaries of both Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the National Park Service than by inviting our community and visitors to enjoy the park at no charge,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Your park ‘ohana welcomes you to join us for a special program, reconnect with your favorite trail, or stay after dark to admire the splendor of glowing lava within Halema‘uma‘u Crater,” she said.

For Junior Ranger Day on Sat., April 16, keiki 17 and younger are invited to join park rangers in Kahuku for a fun day of discovery from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants will hike the historic lower Palm Trail, and learn to make traditional string figures called hei. Call (808) 985-6019 to register, limited to 25 participants.

On Wed., April 20 kupuna hula group Haunani’s Aloha Expressions will perform for free at the Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

On the last day of National Park Week, Sun., April 24, from 10 a.m. to noon, the park will host a “National Park Rx Day,” a community health initiative to “prescribe” time in parks to promote wellness. Join park rangers and Dr. Craig Kadooka on an easy one-mile roundtrip hike of upper ‘Iliahi Trail. Meet at Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai at 10 a.m. The first 200 walkers will receive a reusable water bottle and fresh fruit. Hawaiian practitioners Edna and Sam Baldado will demonstrate the heath benefits of kalo, and Ka‘ohu Monfort will share how Hawaiians use plants to heal and cure. HMSA will also provide a table with health information.

A hiker takes in the coastal views at ‘Āpua Point in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo courtesy of Jacob W. Frank. ​

A hiker takes in the coastal views at ‘Āpua Point in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo courtesy of Jacob W. Frank. ​

National Park Week event sponsors include Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ National Park, Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, and Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park celebrates its 100th birthday in 2016. The park provides countless ways for visitors to connect with and appreciate Hawaiian culture, active volcanoes, and native plants and animals. It was designated as a World Heritage Site (1987) and an International Biosphere Reserve (1980).

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Announces April Flight Plans

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park announces the following upcoming flight plans for April 2016:

  • April 8, 18, 21, 25 and 28, between 6 a.m. and noon, to shuttle crew, camp supplies, fencing material and equipment to Mauna Loa at about 9,000-ft. elevation.
  • April 8, between 7 a.m. and noon, to shuttle crew and camp supplies between Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road) and the northwest area of Kahuku for vegetation monitoring.
  • April 18, between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., to shuttle crew to/from the western area of Kahuku around 7,500-ft. elevation for vegetation monitoring.
  • April 19, between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. for ungulate surveys and control work in Kahuku between 3,000- and 7,000-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.

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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.

After Dark Goes OUT of the Park in 2016

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s popular After Dark program will travel to Hilo and Kailua-Kona this year to celebrate the park’s centennial anniversary in those communities. This year is also the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service.

A view of Ka Lae (South Point) from Kahuku. NPS Photo/David Boyle

A view of Ka Lae (South Point) from Kahuku. NPS Photo/David Boyle

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo will host four one-hour After Dark Out of the Park programs on Feb. 24, June 29, Aug. 17, and Oct. 26. Each program is free and starts at 7 p.m. Free parking is available.

In Kailua-Kona, the Kona Historical Society will host an After Dark Out of the Park program on July 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center. Free parking is available. See the schedule below for Kona and Hilo presentations:

A two-tone ‘ōhi‘a lehua at Kahuku. NPS Photo/David Boyle

A two-tone ‘ōhi‘a lehua at Kahuku. NPS Photo/David Boyle

After Dark Out of the Park: The Natural Resources of Kahuku. Park Botanist Sierra McDaniel and Wildlife Biologist Jon Faford discuss the natural treasures of the Kahuku Unit, former ranch lands acquired by the National Park Service in 2003, and the challenges of conserving the native species like nēnē, hāhā and Mauna Loa silverswords that cling to life here. Sponsored by Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.

  • When: Wed., Feb. 24, 2016 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue

After Dark Out of the Park: The Evolution of Landscape Restoration at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Since its establishment in 1916, various attempts to conserve and protect the park’s rich biological resources have been made by the Territory of Hawai‘i, the National Park Service, and citizen scientists – with varying degrees of success. Beginning in 1970, park staff adopted a systematic park-wide approach to managing species and habitats which continues today. Join Chief of Natural Resource Management Dr. Rhonda Loh to learn more about these Special Ecological Areas, or SEAs, and decades of successful restoration in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Sponsored by Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.

  • When: Wed., June 29, 2016 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue

After Dark Out of the Park: The Establishment of Hawaii National Park. Park Archeologist Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura shares the story of the development of Hawaii National Park, and presents a fascinating look at the extraordinary individuals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who were key in creating the national park that then included the summits of Kīlauea and Haleakalā on Maui. Sponsored by the Kona Historical Society as part of its Hanohano ‘O Kona Lecture Series.

  • When: Wed., July 27 at 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Where: West Hawai‘i Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway

After Dark Out of the Park: The Establishment of Hawaii National Park. Park Archeologist Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura shares the story of the development of Hawaii National Park, and presents a fascinating look at the extraordinary individuals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who were key in creating the national park that then included the summits of Kīlauea and Haleakalā on Maui. Sponsored by Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.

  • When: Wed., Aug. 17 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue

After Dark Out of the Park: LiDAR Sheds New Light on Hidden Gems. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology is used to digitize archeological resources including ancient footprints, petroglyph fields and agricultural systems. Join Park Archeologist Dusten Robbins to learn how the park uses LiDAR in managing cultural resources, and future uses of this exciting technology. Sponsored by Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.

  • When: Wed., Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue

The After Dark Out of the Park series will be offered on a Wednesday, and each presentation will be followed by a complementary hike or excursion in the park the following Saturday to encourage people to “Find Your Park.” Visit the park website for the Centennial Hike Series schedule, and After Dark In the Park programs.

In 2016, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will celebrate 100 years  of connecting people to, and caring for, the extraordinary landscape, native plants and animals and Hawaiian culture linked with Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Centennial After Dark in the Park, After Dark Out of the Park, and Hike Series is free, and no advance registration is required. The series is co-sponsored by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and donations are greatly appreciated.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Seek Witnesses to Fatal Car Crash

National Park Service rangers are seeking witnesses to a fatal single-vehicle accident that occurred on Highway 11 near mile marker 30 and the Pi‘i Mauna Drive intersection in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Thursday night.

volcano car crashAt approximately 9:38 p.m., a female driver traveling south on Highway 11 crashed into a cluster of large ‘ōhi‘a trees and was ejected from the vehicle, a 1992 Honda sedan. Park rangers and County of Hawai‘i rescue personnel determined the victim did not survive, and her body was transported to Hilo Medical Center.

The identification of the victim is unknown, and an investigation is underway.

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

 

Free Entry to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Veterans Day

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park joins national parks across the country in waiving entrance fees for Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11.

“The men and women who have served our nation have sacrificed much to protect our freedom,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We invite everyone to honor their service and experience the American heritage by visiting their national parks at no charge this Veterans Day,” she said.

Visitors enjoy scenic views of Kīlauea Caldera and the summit eruption in Halema‘uma‘u Crater from Crater Rim Trail near Steaming Bluff.   NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Visitors enjoy scenic views of Kīlauea Caldera and the summit eruption in Halema‘uma‘u Crater from Crater Rim Trail near Steaming Bluff. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has dozens of veterans among its employees and volunteers. Active duty U.S. military can obtain a free annual Military Pass at the park’s entrance station all year. For more information on the free Military Pass, visit the park website.

The park, which is open 24 hours a day, offers more than 150 miles of hiking trails and many opportunities to appreciate the volcanic landscape, native ecosystem and the Hawaiian culture that define this World Heritage Site. More than a dozen free interpretive programs are offered daily, and special events, including ‘Ike Hana No‘eau cultural workshops, After Dark in the Park presentations, and Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” concerts, are ongoing. Check www.nps.gov/havo for information for all events.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is one of five national park units on the island of Hawai‘i.  Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is also free of charge Veterans Day weekend. There is no admission charged for Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, or the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.

Information on special offerings at parks nationwide is available at http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.

Video: 100 Years in 100 Seconds – Volcanoes National Park

Watch Hawaii Volcanoes National Park expand and change before your eyes as eruptions from Mauna Loa and Kīlauea alter the landscape — and the experience — in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, from 1916 to present.

This multimedia video was created by Scott Kichman and Cory Nash of the NPS Pacific Island Network’s Inventory & Monitoring team. Music by Kenneth Makuakāne.

Donkeys Save the Day at Volcanoes National Park

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, some have four legs. Last week, park mules and a horse transported two injured hikers suffering from dehydration to safety.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park stock manager Jordan Barthold (first) and first responder TJ Magno head down Keauhou Trail last Thursday.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park stock manager Jordan Barthold (first) and first responder TJ Magno head down Keauhou Trail last Thursday.

The Hilo couple had planned to hike to a remote coastal campsite, but was not prepared for the intense heat, lack of shade, and rough terrain. They didn’t have hiking sticks, and their water filters broke. On the morning of Aug. 27, they started to hike out on Keauhou Trail. Both turned their ankles, and were unable to continue. They called the number on their backcountry permit, and a team of mules and first responders was dispatched.

The exhausted couple was located, and park mule Dozer and horse ‘Ōhi‘a calmly transported them to safety, while Sparkles and Clyde hauled their backpacks.

It wasn’t the first rescue for these hardy stock animals. In mid-July, Sparkles carried an O‘ahu man from Keauhou Trail to safety. The man, in his 60s, was separated from his group and became dehydrated and fatigued on the grueling eight-mile hike.

Although the stock team and the first responders saved the days, both incidents were preventable, said Park Ranger Jack Corrao.

Stock manager Jordan Barthold holds Sparkles the mule with rescued visitor from O‘ahu astride

Stock manager Jordan Barthold holds Sparkles the mule with rescued visitor from O‘ahu astride

“It’s extremely important to be prepared when going into the backcountry, or on any hike,” Corrao said.  “Have plenty of water, four quarts per person per day, and make sure your water filter works. Never get separated from your group. Know your limits,” he said. A detailed checklist of safety tips is provided with all backcountry permits, and is on the park website.

Park mules perform a variety of important duties in the 333,086-acre park. They are strong, sure-hoofed and are able to carry heavy loads over uneven terrain, said stock manager Jordan Barthold. They were vital to the recent replacement of the wooden boardwalk at Pu‘u Loa Petroglyphs. The mules are also used to transport equipment to the Hawaiian hawksbill sea turtle crew, and haul waste from the pit toilets in the coastal campgrounds, among other duties.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Prepares for Guillermo

In anticipation of the heavy rain and wind forecast with the arrival of Tropical Storm Guillermo, all backcountry areas in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will be closed as of 5 p.m. on Tues., Aug. 4 until it is safe to reopen them. No backcountry permits will be issued until park staff reassess the storm’s impact.

Current projected path of Guillermo

Current projected path of Guillermo

In addition, Mauna Loa Road from Kīpukapuaulu to the Mauna Loa Lookout,and Nāmakanipaio Campgrounds and A-frame cabins, will close as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. The visitor centers, restrooms, lava tube, front-country trails, steam vents, and other popular features, will remain open.

Park staff will continue to monitor the storm and assess conditions in the park. The public will be kept informed via news releases, social media, and the park website, nps.gov/havo.

EPA Honors Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as Federal Green Challenge Winner

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park with the EPA’s Federal Green Challenge Regional Overall Achievement award as part of its efforts to encourage federal departments to reduce their environmental footprints through sustainable practices.

A park ranger recycles cardboard

A park ranger recycles cardboard

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, located on Hawai‘i Island is one of the most biologically diverse landscapes in the world. Located nearly 2,500 miles from the nearest continental land mass, the park stretches from the summit of Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet down to sea level. It encompasses two of the world’s most active volcanoes, and attracts more than 1.6 million visitors a year.

“We applaud National Park Service staff for leading the way towards zero waste, and educating the millions of visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This unique landscape deserves protection, and that starts with the commitment by the federal employees who work there.”

“We are extremely honored to receive this level of recognition for our climate-friendly efforts,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Our staff is dedicated to implementing environmentally responsible practices, and we encourage our visitors and park partners to do the same,” she said.

The park had top regional achievements in the Federal Green Challenge Waste and Purchasing target areas, increasing recycling by 167 percent to achieve an overall recycling rate of 76 percent, while decreasing copy paper purchases by 89 percent. In addition, 95 percent of its cleaning products met Environmental Preferable Purchasing criteria.

Not only does Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park walk their talk behind the scenes, but park employees reach out to the community and visitors throughout the year through programs, exhibits and presentations on the values and importance of being climate friendly and sustainable.

The park actively works to reduce their environmental footprint in all six Federal Green Challenge target areas: energy, water, waste, electronics, purchasing and transportation.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is home to Hawaii’s largest public rainwater catchment system that stores 5.3 million gallons of water. The water is treated, filtered with cartridge and sand filters, and disinfected to supply water to 56 areas throughout the park. Water bottle refilling stations, posters, and sale of refillable stainless steel water bottles educate the public to “Step Away from the Plastic.”

In addition, the park’s Visitor Emergency Operations Center, which opened in 2011, earned a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council – and is currently the only federal building in Hawai‘i to receive LEED Platinum certification. The 4,896-square-foot building is powered by photovoltaic panels and is constructed from mostly recycled or reused materials.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has made more great strides in conserving energy. Park rangers ride electrically powered “Eco Bikes” to their programs along the Kīlauea summit, saving fossil fuels and parking spaces. The Kīlauea Visitor Center features special yellow LED lighting to conserve energy and keep night skies dark. Solar panels generate renewable energy, and electric and alternative fuel vehicles further reduce energy and transportation-related emissions.

The Federal Green Challenge is a national effort challenging federal agencies to lead by example in reducing the Federal Government’s environmental impacts. In 2014, more than 400 participating facilities, representing nearly 1.3 million federal employees, “walked the talk” in various target areas and reduced their environmental footprint, which in many cases also resulted in significant cost savings. In EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region, $3,486,990 was saved through reductions in energy, purchasing, transportation and waste.

Explore Kilauea Iki With a Vulcanologist

On June 14, the non-profit Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (FHVNP) presents a “Sunday Walk in the Park” from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  This monthly program, offered on second Sundays, is aimed at bringing together the members of FHVNP to share in the park’s beautiful trails.

The public is invited to join the non-profit Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park for a  “Sunday Walk in the Park” on June 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. along the Kilauea Iki Trail.  The walk is free for Friends members, and non-members are welcome to join the Friends in order to attend.  Annual memberships are $30 for individuals and $45 for families, and come with a variety of benefits.  Visit www.fhvnp.org for more info.   Photo: FHVNP/Elizabeth Fien

The public is invited to join the non-profit Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park for a “Sunday Walk in the Park” on June 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. along the Kilauea Iki Trail. The walk is free for Friends members, and non-members are welcome to join the Friends in order to attend. Annual memberships are $30 for individuals and $45 for families, and come with a variety of benefits. Visit www.fhvnp.org for more info.
Photo: FHVNP/Elizabeth Fien

Led by Cheryl Gansecki, this month’s four-mile hike will explore Kilauea Iki Crater.  Participants should bring a bag lunch for a rest stop along the walk.

Kilauea Iki Trail begins on the crater’s forested rim.  The trail descends 400 feet through the rain forest, with native birds flitting through the canopy, onto the crater floor.  Hikers cross the still-steaming crater, past the gaping throat of the vent that built Pu‘u Pua‘i cinder cone, and ascend the far rim.  Of interest on the hike are forest plants, birds, insects, the 1959 lava lake, steam vents, and cinder and spatter cones.

This hike, rated moderately difficult, traverses pahoehoe lava and forested trails.  Participants should be prepared for the 4,000’ elevation as well as for variable weather conditions, including sunny, windy, chilly, and/or rainy.

FHVNP’s “Sunday Walk in the Park” is free for Friends members, and non-members are welcome to join the Friends in order to attend.  Annual memberships are $30 for individuals and $45 for families, and come with a variety of benefits.

To register, contact FHVNP at 985-7373 or admin@fhvnp.org.  For more information, visit www.fhvnp.org.  Park entrance fees apply.

Volcanoes National Park to Increase Entrance and Camping Fees

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will incrementally increase entrance and camping fees over the next three years in order to fund deferred maintenance and improvement projects within the park, and to meet national standards for parks with similar visitor amenities. Entrance fees for recreational use have not increased since 1997.

Kilauea Iki with Rainbow.  Photo Carol Johnson

Kilauea Iki with Rainbow. Photo Carol Johnson

Beginning June 1, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will increase its per-vehicle entrance fee in $5 increments from the current price of $10 per vehicle to $15 per-vehicle this year, $20 in 2016, and $25 in 2017. The vehicle pass is valid for seven days. The per-person entrance fee (the rate bicyclists and pedestrians pay) will increase from the current rate of $5 to $8 on June 1, $10 in 2016, and to $12 in 2017. The motorcycle fee will go up from $5 to $10 on June 1, $15 in 2016, and to $20 in 2017.

One significant modification to the new fee structure was based on public input. The annual Tri-Park Pass, considered by many as the kama‘āina, or residents pass, will remain at the current rate of $25 for 2015 and 2016, and will increase to $30 in 2017. Based on public input, the park proposed a $30 fee for the Tri-Park Pass, instead of the national standard of $50. The annual Tri-Park Pass is available to all visitors and allows unlimited entry for one year to three national parks: Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, and Haleakalā National Park.

New fees are also slated for all backcountry and front-country campsites, including Kulanaokuaiki Campground, and will be $10 per site per night. Backcountry campsites will have a stay limit of three consecutive nights, while the front-country campsites will have a stay limit of seven consecutive nights. Currently, camping is free, except at Nāmakanipaio Campground, which is managed by Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC. The new camping permit fees are similar to other public camping fees statewide.

In addition, entrance fees will increase for commercial tour companies. Currently, road-based tour vans carrying one to six passengers pay a $25 base fee and $5 per person to enter the park. The commercial per-person entrance rates will increase to $8 in 2015; $10 in 2016; and $12 in 2017 and will remain at $12 through 2021. The base fee will not change. Non-road-based tour companies, i.e. hiking tour companies that are on trails more than they are touring the park by vehicle, don’t pay a base rate but their per-person entrance fees would increase under the proposed schedule.

“The increases over the next few years will enable us to continue to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors, while upgrading some basic services like our campgrounds,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We reached out to our community for their feedback on the new fees, and many comments were supportive of the increase as long as the Tri-Park Pass continued to be offered,” she said.

Recreational entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years old, or holders of the Tri-Park, America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Senior, Access, or Military passes. These passes may be obtained at the park, or online.

The current National Park Service (NPS) fee program began in 1997 and allows parks to retain 80 percent of monies collected. Projects funded by entrance fees at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park include ongoing trail maintenance, cabin repairs, hike pamphlets, restrooms, picnic tables, and more. The transformation of the 1932 Administration Building (‘Ōhi‘a Wing) into a cultural museum that visitors will soon enjoy is also a fee-funded project. Entrance fees also protect the Hawaiian ecosystem by funding fencing projects that prevent non-native ungulates like pigs and goats from devouring rare native plants.

An NPS report shows that 1,693,005 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2014 spent $136,838,700 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,672 jobs on island, and had a cumulative benefit to the local community of $170,878,000.