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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.

crater 4416

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.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz Results

After two intensive days of exploration and documentation, the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Parks BioBlitz held on May 15 and 16, 2015, captured a vivid snapshot of the unique plant and animal biodiversity in park.

Kilauea Iki with Rainbow.  Photo Carol Johnson

Kilauea Iki with Rainbow. Photo Carol Johnson

The event brought together more than 170 leading scientists and traditional Hawaiian cultural practitioners, more than 850 students and thousands from the general public. Together they conducted a comprehensive inventory of the plants, insects, mammals, birds and other species that inhabit the 333,086-acre island park. Under the theme of I ka nānā no a ‘ike (“By observing, one learns), alakai‘i were integrated into the survey teams for a more holistic approach to the research and exploration endeavor.

Highlights:

  • More than 6,000 people, including more than 850 schoolchildren, participated in the BioBlitz and the concurrent Biodiversity & Cultural Festival.
  • With a scientist to student ratio of 1 to 5, students were able to truly work side-by-side with top scientists.
  • 22 new species were added to the park’s species list, and sightings of 73 threatened species, including the nēnē and Kamehameha butterfly, were documented.
  • The BioBlitz survey more than doubled the number of fungi species on the park’s list with 17 new fungi documented at the close of the event. Many more will be added in coming days and weeks.
  • The initial scientific species count as of the afternoon BioBlitz closing ceremony on Saturday, May 16, was 416, with 1,535 observations recorded over the course of the two-day event. Organizers expect this number to increase significantly over the next several months as cutting-edge testing of the collected samples continues.
  • The 35th annual Cultural Festival was moved from July to this weekend and expanded to include biodiversity booths and activities. The festival showcased how Hawaiians are true ecological experts and I ka nānā no a ‘ike principles continue today. The Biodiversity & Cultural Festival included hands-on science and cultural exhibits, food, art and top Hawaiian music and dance performances.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz is part scientific endeavor, part outdoor classroom excursion and part celebration of biodiversity and culture.

Participants combed the park, observing and recording as many plant and animal species as possible in 24 hours. Activities included catching insects, spotting birds, observing plants and fungi, and using technology to better understand the diverse ecosystems across the park.

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Visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Creates $136,838,700 Economic Benefits

Report shows visitor spending supports 1,672 jobs in local economy

A new National Park Service (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.

Park Ranger Dean Gallagher gives the "Life on the Edge" talk to visitors along the Jaggar Museum observation deck in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Janice Wei.

Park Ranger Dean Gallagher gives the “Life on the Edge” talk to visitors along the Jaggar Museum observation deck in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Janice Wei.

The park’s 2014 visitation is up 6.9 percent from 2013 (1,583,209 visitors), and reflects a steady and rising trend of visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park since 2009. The park, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016, shares two of earth’s most active volcanoes, the Hawaiian culture, and its native biodiversity with local residents and visitors.

“It’s heartening to again report an increase in both visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the significant 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 economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.  The report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally; 235,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.

According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.9 percent).

To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

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.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to Host BioBlitz 2015

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s diverse ecological zones provide refuge for many distinct plant and animal communities, including endangered endemic species such as the nēnē (Hawaiian goose), and the Mauna Loa silversword, which flowers only once in its life.

An endemic nēnē (Hawaiian goose) feeds on indigenous naupaka kahakai (beach naupaka) in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

An endemic nēnē (Hawaiian goose) feeds on indigenous naupaka kahakai (beach naupaka) in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

The fascinating geology and biology are vital components of the cultural heritage of indigenous Hawaiian people. To better understand, appreciate and protect this natural and cultural treasure, the National Park Service and National Geographic are hosting a two-day BioBlitz species count and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival on Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, 2015.

Crater Rim Trail winds through the native rainforest surrounding Kīlauea caldera in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Jessica Ferracane

Crater Rim Trail winds through the native rainforest surrounding Kīlauea caldera in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Jessica Ferracane

Themed I ka nānā no a ‘ike (“By observing, one learns”), the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz is part scientific endeavor, part outdoor classroom excursion and part celebration of biodiversity and culture. It will bring together more than 150 leading scientists and traditional Hawaiian cultural practitioners, more than 750 students and thousands from the general public. Together, they will be dispatched across the park’s 333,086 acres to explore and document the biodiversity that thrives in recent lava flows and native rain forests of Kīlauea volcano.

“We are honored to host BioBlitz 2015,” said Cindy Orlando, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s superintendent. “BioBlitz provides an unparalleled opportunity to work alongside leading scientists and cultural practitioners to discover, count and add to the park’s species list; to explore the interconnectedness of plants, animals, Hawaiian people and our daily lives; and to protect this amazing biodiversity and rich culture in our park.”

In connection with the BioBlitz opportunity, the park is moving its 35th annual Cultural Festival from July to May this year and expanding it to include biodiversity. At the two-day festival, visitors of all ages will discover how native Hawaiians lived closely to the land as its stewards, embodying “I ka nānā no a ‘ike” principles that continue today.

Hālau hula Ulumano o Palikū, shown here performing in the 2013 Cultural Festival, return to perform in the 2015 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival.  NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

Hālau hula Ulumano o Palikū, shown here performing in the 2013 Cultural Festival, return to perform in the 2015 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

The Biodiversity & Cultural Festival will offer hands-on science and cultural exhibits, food, art and entertainment, plus the opportunity to meet individuals and organizations at the forefront of conservation, science and traditional Hawaiian culture — and to learn how to join their efforts. The festival is free and open to the public.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz is the ninth in a series of 10 BioBlitzes co-hosted by National Geographic and the National Park Service at different national parks across the country, leading up the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016.

Keiki (children) examine insects with an entomologist in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo

Keiki (children) examine insects with an entomologist in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo

“Each year, the BioBlitz evolves,” said John Francis, National Geographic’s vice president of Research, Conservation and Exploration. “Last year we moved away from paper data sheets and used smartphones and the iNaturalist app to photograph, identify and map species finds, adding more detailed information to both Park Service and international species databases. This year, we are going to build on that and blend technology with Hawaiian culture. This exciting, holistic approach will enhance our appreciation for the amazing resources in this breathtaking park and establish a more complete model for scientific exploration in Hawai‘i and around the globe.”

A longtime partner of the National Park Service, the National Geographic Society helped draft legislation to establish the Service in 1916. It has given many grants to create and sustain national parks across the United States and has extensively covered the parks in its media for nearly a century.

The BioBlitz program is the latest successful collaboration between the two partners. The first BioBlitz took place in 2007 at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. Others have been held at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California in 2008; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 2009; Biscayne National Park in Florida in 2010; Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona, in 2011; Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado, in 2012; Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve outside New Orleans in 2013; and last year in Golden Gate National Parks in Northern California. Smaller-scale events take place throughout the year at various national parks across the country. For more information, visit nature.nps.gov/biology/biodiversity/.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz has been made possible through the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas D. Rutherfoord Jr., the Harold M. and Adeline S. Morrison Family Foundation, Edmund C. Olson Trust II, Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Additionally, generous corporate support for the event has been provided by Kona Brewing Company, KapohoKine Adventures, First Hawaiian Bank, Roberts Hawai‘i, Alaska Airlines and Big Island Candies. In-kind donations from local business and organizations have been received from Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company LLC, KTA Super Stores, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawai‘i Forest & Trail and Aloha Crater Lodge.

How to Get Involved:

Public registration is now open. To be part of a scientist-led inventory team, participants must register online at nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz. Participation on inventory teams is limited and spots will be filled on a first-come basis. Children ages 8 and older, accompanied by adults, may participate in the free inventory opportunities.

Everybody can enjoy hands-on fun at the Biodiversity & Cultural Festival. BioBlitz base camp and the Biodiversity & Cultural Festival will be located at the Kahua Hula overlooking Halema‘uma‘u Crater near the Kīlauea Visitors Center in the park. No registration is required for the festival.  Entrance fees are waived for both days. To learn more about BioBlitz and the festival, visit nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz or call (800) 638-6400, ext. 6186. For more information about the parks, visit nps.gov/havo.

Japan Visitor Dies in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A 71-year-old male visitor from Japan died yesterday after suffering an apparent heart attack at Thurston Lava Tube in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
Thurston Lava Tube

Acting Chief Ranger John Broward reported that the man was hiking out of the lava tube with a tour group, at approximately 1 p.m. After walking up the steepest section of the trail, the visitor felt fatigued, was short of breath, and sat down to rest.

Shortly after sitting down, he collapsed, lost consciousness, and stopped breathing. Several visiting nurses and a tour operator performed CPR until park rangers arrived with an automated external defibrillator, or AED. Rangers went through three cycles of CPR and AED analysis but the man’s heart was not in a rhythm the machine could detect.

County of Hawai‘i Medic 19 arrived and assumed care. After county medics completed their protocols, a doctor from the Hilo Medical Center pronounced the visitor dead through online medical control.

The name of the victim is being withheld pending further notification of his family.

Volcanoes National Park Clarification on Chain of Craters Emergency Access Route

Hi Damon,

It has been brought to our attention that there has been some confusion and concern regarding access to Chain of Craters Kalapan Road.  I would like provide some clarification and help clear up some of the confusion.

The Chain of Craters Kalapana emergency access route will be available for use by Puna residents affected by the lava flow and their invitees and agents, as well as the transportation of goods and services needed to sustain the community including vendors, contractors, and service providers. A free window decal to facilitate access through the park for affected Puna residents is being developed.

The road will remain open to local residents and for uses to sustain the community until another long term viable route is established by the state or county.

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the construction and use of the road and mitigation measures developed to protect the park resources. You can access the park’s compliance website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/havo

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Thanks!

Rainey McKenna, Public Information Officer – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

 

Kīpukapuaulu, Nāmakanipaio, and Mauna Loa Now Open

The popular forested trail at Kīpukapuaulu (known locally as “Bird Park”), Nāmakanipaio campground, and Mauna Loa summit and backcountry within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park are now open.

Park rangers report that the Mauna Loa Cabin and other areas in the Mauna Loa backcountry within Hawai‘i Voclanoes National Park sustained little or no damage as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle. NPS Photo/Talmadge Magno

Park rangers report that the Mauna Loa Cabin and other areas in the Mauna Loa backcountry within Hawai‘i Voclanoes National Park sustained little or no damage as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle. NPS Photo/Talmadge Magno

Mauna Loa Road is open to hikers and pedestrians, but is currently closed to vehicles.  Visitors who want to access Mauna Loa trail, the summit, and Pu‘u‘ula‘ula (Red Hill) or Mauna Loa cabins, must obtain a backcountry permit at the Visitor Emergency Operations Center. A gate code for Mauna Loa Road will be provided with the permit. Call 808-985-6178 for information.

“We’re delighted to report that most of the places visitors typically visit within the national park are now open,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Our park crews mobilized quickly, safely, and efficiently to reopen as much of the park as possible following Hurricane Iselle,” she said.

All coastal trails and coastal backcountry campsites are open within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Nāpau and Kūlanaokuaiki campsites and Pepeiao Cabin are also open. Power has been restored, and most phones are working throughout the park. Kīlauea Visitor Center and Jaggar Museum have returned to normal operating hours.

Hurricane Iselle, which was downgraded to a tropical storm, snapped trail signs off posts in some areas, and damaged park resources, including a historic home at ‘Āinahou, and a greenhouse used to propagate endangered plants. Potential damage to fencing in remote areas and the coastal nesting sites of the endangered hawksbill turtle are still being assessed.

Tourism to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Creates $124, 937,400 in Economic Benefit

Report shows visitor spending supports 1,476 jobs in local economy

A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2013 shows that the 1,583,209 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park spent $124,937,400 in communities near the park. This spending supported 1,476 jobs in the local area.

The summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano from Halema‘uma‘u Crater continues to attract visitors to the park.  NPS Photo by

The summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano from Halema‘uma‘u Crater continues to attract visitors to the park. NPS Photo by Stephen Geiger

“We are pleased to again report a steady annual increase of visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a World Heritage Site,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The ease of viewing the summit eruption from Kīlauea, the many free cultural and scientific programs, the re-opening of Volcano House, and the diverse ecosystem of native plants and animals that park stewards have worked hard to protect for nearly 100 years are part of what attracts people, and can be attributed to the increase,” she said.

Visitors from across the country, around the world, and from local communities statewide and island-wide, visit Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the NPS – and it’s 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 and businesses,” Orlando said.

The 2013 report reflects a consistent trend of increasing visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park over the last five years, as well as higher spending by visitors in local communities. In 2013, visitation increased 6.7 percent over 2012 (1,483,928 visitors), and spending increased by 10.2 percent ($113,376,400). The 2012 visitation to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was 9.7 percent higher than 2011 (1,352,123 visitors), and 2012 spending was up 17 percent from 2011.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the NPS.

The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.

According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).

The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).

To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

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

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Offers Free Hawaiian Music Songwriting Retreat

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is offering a two-day Hawaiian music songwriting retreat for beginners on Saturday, August 16 and Sunday, August 17. Hawaiian music, language and haku mele (Hawaiian song) experts Kenneth Makuakāne and Kaliko Trapp-Beamer will lead the workshops.

Kenneth Makuakane teaching ukulele.

Kenneth Makuakane teaching ukulele.

Both workshops run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will be held at the park’s Education Center. Advance registration is required. To register, call (808) 985-6166. Leave your name, email address, and best contact number no later than August 8. Space is limited. The park will contact you by email to confirm your reservation.

The retreat will be held in the park at the summit of Kīlauea. Budding songwriters will find inspiration in this wahi kapu (sacred place), among the towering koa and ‘ōhi‘a lehua trees, over fields of ropy pāhoehoe lava, and in the awe-inspiring eruptive glow from Halema‘uma‘u Crater.

Also inspirational are the retreat’s accomplished teachers. Kenneth Makuakāne is a multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano award winner, along with his group, The Pandanus Club. He’s a prolific songwriter (1,500-plus songs), producer of more than 100 albums, and collaborator who has worked with virtually all of the stars of Hawaiian music over the years.

Kaliko

Kaliko Trapp-Beamer

Kaliko was raised as the hānai son of Hawaiian cultural expert Aunty Nona Beamer (1923-2008), learning Hawaiian chant, storytelling, traditional protocol, family songs, and stories. He currently teaches Hawaiian language courses at the University of Hawai‘i in Hilo, and helps coordinate the Beamer Family Aloha Music Camp. He is the President of the Mohala Hou Foundation dedicated to “preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian culture through education and the arts.”

The two-day Hawaiian songwriting retreat is sponsored by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Park entrance fees apply.