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Hawai‘i Volcanoes Offering Free Entry, Volunteer Opportunities

September 26, 2017, 11:00 AM HST (Updated September 26, 2017, 9:05 AM) · 0 Comments
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Yoshihiro Ueda of Hilo removes invasive Himalayan ginger on National Public Lands Day. NPS photo.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will offer free admission and volunteer conservation opportunities on Saturday, Sept. 30, in honor of National Public Lands Day. Conservation efforts will involve the removal of invasive plant species in the park and in the Ocean View community.

National Public Lands day is the largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the country. The park will offer its Stewardship at the Summit volunteer program from 9 a.m. to noon on Sept. 30, and participants will earn a free park pass to use on another date of their choosing.

Participants will meet Paul and Jane Field at the Kīlauea Visitor Center at 8:45 a.m.​, then head into the forested summit of Kīlauea to remove Himalayan ginger—one of the most invasive plants in the park, and on earth. Himalayan ginger dominates the native rainforest understory, making it impossible new trees to grow. It also crowds out native plants including pa‘iniu (a Hawaiian lily), ‘ama‘u fern and others.

Volunteers are advised to wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and long pants, bring a hat, sunscreen, rain gear, snacks and water. Loppers and gloves will be provided. No advance registration is necessary.

In Ocean View, volunteers are needed to help remove invasive fountain grass from roadsides in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates (HOVE). Interested volunteers can meet at the Ocean View Community Center on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 9 a.m. Participants are advised to bring a lunch, water, a hat and sun protection.

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Fountain grass is a weed that contributes to the risk of wildfire. In 2005, the noxious weed was responsible for a 25,000-acre fire that forced an evacuation in Waikoloa Village.

For more information about this project, contact Park Ecologist David Benitez at (808) 985-6085 or email atdavid_benitez@nps.gov.

Every year on National Public Lands Day, all fee-charging national parks offer free entry. Many parks and public lands across the nation also organize stewardship projects and special programs to raise awareness on the importance of protecting public lands.

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