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Lava Tree State Monument Reopens

December 6, 2018, 7:45 AM HST (Updated December 6, 2018, 7:46 AM)
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VIDEO: Fissure 8, 6.21.18. VC: DLNR

The gate to Lava Tree State Monument in the Puna District on Hawai‘i Island will open for the first time in more than seven months beginning on Thursday, Dec 6, 2018, at 7:45 a.m.

The state park within eyesight of the East Rift Zone’s Fissure 8 was closed shortly after Kīlauea began erupting in May 2018.

The park, 2.7 miles SE of Pāhoa off Highway 132, features an excellent example of a forest of lava trees along a 0.7-mile loop trail, the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources said in its press release. This unusual volcanic feature is the result of a previous lava flow that swept through the forest and left behind lava molds of the tree trunks. This year’s lava flows did get close to the park but never actually reached it. Earthquakes associated with the eruption damaged park facilities. That damage and Lava Tree’s proximity to active flows prompted the closure.

According to the DLNR Division of State Parks the following repairs were made prior to the Dec. 6 reopening:

  • Repair to a damaged area of the walkway trail
  • Repair of comfort station caused by eruption
  • Repainting of the comfort station
  • Repair of the storage building doors

MacKenzie State Recreation Area on the coast had also been closed during and after the eruption, but reopened on Sept. 8.

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The state’s Pohoiki Boat Ramp adjacent to Isaac Hale County Park remains closed as a new black sand beach has blocked entrance to the ramp. The DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) is still in the process of determining whether the sand can be dredged or whether to relocate the ramp to a new location in lower Puna.

Anyone visiting state parks in the area is encouraged to use common sense; stay on trails and do not walk onto new lava flows, as they can be unstable and break away.

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