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

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

NPS Photo

Himalayan ginger is one of the most invasive plants in the park, and on earth. It is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as one of the 100 World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species. The park strives to protect the rainforest habitat of native birds and plants, but Himalayan ginger takes over the native rainforest understory, making it impossible for the next generation of forest to grow, and it crowds out many native plants, including pa‘iniu (a Hawaiian lily), ‘ama‘u fern, and others. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, sunscreen, raingear, snacks, and water. Loppers/gloves provided. No advance registration required.

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

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

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

Volunteer with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on National Public Lands Day

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park encourages the public to mālama ‘āina on Sat., Sept. 28 – National Public Lands Day – by volunteering to remove invasive Himalayan ginger in the park, or fountain grass in Ocean View.

Park entrance fees are waived for National Public Lands Day, and the annual event is the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States.

Stewardship at the Summit. Join volunteers Paul and Jane Field, and remove Himalayan ginger from the summit of Kīlauea.  While pretty and fragrant, Himalayan (also called kāhili) ginger is one of the most invasive plants in the park, and on earth.

Volunteer Marilyn Nicholson helps eliminate invasive Himalayan or kāhili  ginger near Halema‘uma‘u Trail in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo NPS

Volunteer Marilyn Nicholson helps eliminate invasive Himalayan or kāhili ginger near Halema‘uma‘u Trail in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo NPS

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature includes it on the “100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species” list. The park strives to protect the habitat of native and endemic Hawaiian rainforest plants, but Himalayan ginger displaces and replaces the native rainforest understory, making it impossible for many native plants to grow, including pa‘iniu (a Hawaiian lily), ‘ama‘u fern, and others. Wear closed-toe shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, snacks, and water. Loppers/gloves provided.  No advance registration required.
When: Sat., Sept. 28, 9 a.m. to noon
Where: Meet the Fields at Kīlauea Visitor Center

Fountain Grass Removal in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates (HOVE). Fountain grass is a highly flammable bunch grass native to North Africa.

Fountain grass dominating this lava landscape in the Ka‘ū District. Photo NPS

Fountain grass dominating this lava landscape in the Ka‘ū District. Photo NPS

This fire-promoting plant spreads quickly, and is one of the few invasive species that can colonize young lava flows that would otherwise serve as natural firebreaks. In 2005, this noxious weed contributed to the spread of a 25,000-acre wildfire that forced evacuation of Waikoloa Village. Fountain grass is especially problematic in leeward areas on Hawai‘i Island, such as the HOVE community, because it increases the risk of wildfire. Volunteers will work with the HOVE community association, Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and park ecologist David Benitez. Bring lunch, water, hat and sunscreen. The first 30 volunteers will get a free pass to return another day and enjoy the park at their leisure. For more information and to register, contact David Benitez at 808-985-6085, or email david_benitez@nps.gov.  

When: Sat., Sept. 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Meet at the Ocean View Community Center at 9 a.m.

 

Free Entry to Hawai‘i Volcanoes & All National Parks Next Saturday

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park joins all 397 national parks in waiving entrance fees in recognition of National Public Lands Day on Sat., Sept. 29. The annual event is the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States.

The park offers several special programs on Sept. 29 to celebrate the day, including two volunteer projects, and a guided hike of a new trail in Kahuku:

Invasive kāhili ginger

Save Halemaumau Trail. Join park rangers and remove invasive kāhili ginger from one of the park’s most historic and treasured scenic trails, Halema‘uma‘u Trail, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meet at Kīlauea Visitor Center, and wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, garden gloves and tools, a day pack, lunch and water. No advance registration required.

Kīpuka Akihi, an adventure in stewardship, is offered in the park’s Kahuku section, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants must be able to hike a challenging 1.5 miles and be prepared to scramble over fallen trees, lava rock, and slippery, wet terrain. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, long pants, sunscreen and a hat. Bring raingear, garden gloves, a day pack, insect repellent, lunch and water. This forest stewardship program provides opportunities to help protect this rainforest by pulling up invasive kāhili ginger and other invasive non-native plants throughout the kīpuka, which harbors rare plants and wildlife. No advance registration required.

A guided hike of Kahuku’s new Palm Trail is also offered Sept. 29, a relatively easy 2.6 mile loop traversing through scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer.  The guided hike is from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Park and meet at the visitor contact tent, near the ranch buildings. Boots, raingear, long pants plus water and a snack are recommended. No advance registration required.

Kahuku is located on the mauka side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5. Drive through the gate, park and meet at the visitor contact tent, near the ranch buildings.

Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will also offer a forest restoration project Sept. 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and are seeking volunteers. Advance registration is required. For more information, contact forest@fhvnp.org or call (808) 352-1402.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Parks Joining Others in Waiving Entrance Fees Martin Luther King Weekend – Other Free Days Coming Up

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will join all 397 national park units across the country in waiving entrance fees Jan. 14-16 to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Entrance fees will also be waived on Sat., Jan. 21 to honor the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s 100-year anniversary and Open House.

The HVO Open House on Jan. 21 is an ideal opportunity for residents and visitors to meet USGS scientists, learn how they monitor Hawaiian volcanoes and earthquakes, and appreciate the compelling history of this vital agency. HVO is located within the national park, but is typically not open
to the public. The Open House will feature observatory tours, demonstrations, and other activities, starting from 9 a.m.

For information on the HVO Open House and other programs offered by HVO in January, visit hvo.wr.usgs.gov.

“We are pleased to invite the public to explore their magnificent national park at no charge during these significant milestones,” said Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “I hope everyone has an opportunity to take advantage of the fee-free dates during the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, and can enjoy the rare privilege of visiting HVO’s Open House,” she said.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will offer numerous ranger-led hikes and programs during the fee-free dates. Visitors can find information at http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/ranger-programs.htm and check the ranger activities bulletin board at the Kīlauea Visitor Center each morning at 9 a.m.

The National Park Service will waive entrance fees on 14 other days in 2012: Apr. 21-29 (National Park Week), June 9 (Get Outdoors Day), July 14 (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s 32nd Annual Cultural Festival), Sept. 29 (National Public Lands Day) and Nov. 10-12 (Veteran’s Day weekend).

Hawai‘i Volcanoes 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 on the NPS fee-free 2012 dates. There is no admission at Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, or along the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.

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

National Public Lands Day to be Celebrated with Free Admission to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) will be celebrated at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Saturday, September 24.  This is “fee-free” day in the park, when admission fees are waived all day in honor of the national event.

National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands in the United States.  NPLD began in 1994 with three sites and 700 volunteers.

Last year, 170,000 volunteers worked at over 2,080 sites in every state, the District of Columbia and in many U.S. territories.  Across the country, NPLD volunteers removed an estimated 450 tons of trash, collected an estimated 20,000 pounds of invasive plants, built and maintained an estimated 1,320 miles of trails, planted an estimated 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plants, and contributed an estimated $15 million to improve public lands across the country.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/Ofar0enEAHw]

“You can make a difference in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park by joining in one of the volunteer projects taking place on National Public Lands Day,” said Park Ranger Kūpono McDaniel.

Trail maintenance volunteers are needed from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.  Ginger removal volunteers are needed from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.  Tools and instruction will be provided.

To volunteer, contact Volunteer Program Manager Laura Williams at (808) 985-6304 or laura_williams@nps.gov.

While enhancing native habitats on National Public Lands Day, bring your camera and take some great shots of your fellow volunteers.  Your photo could become a winner in the 11th annual NPLD Volunteers in Action Photo Contest.  For details, visit www.publiclandsday.org.