Hawai`i Volcanoes Again Welcoming Visitors
Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park staff gladly opened their gate to visitors early this morning following Wednesday’s resolution of the 16-day stalemate in Congress.
The Macfarlane family of Scotland were the first visitors to enter the park when it reopened at 6 a.m., park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane said, and were soon enjoying the views of Halema‘uma‘u Crater from Steaming Bluffs.
She said the Macfarlanes were ecstatic to learn the national parks would reopen today, as their return flight leaves tonight.
“We are all eager and excited to reopen and welcome visitors back to the park,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.
Areas of the park that are open include:
- Chain of Craters Road and its scenic overlooks
- Crater Rim Drive except for the section closed since 2008 because of volcano fumes from the vent in Halema‘uma‘u Crater
- Thurston Lava Tube, Steam Vents and the Jaggar Museum observation deck overlooking Halema‘uma‘u
- The Kilauea Visitor Center and Jaggar Museum
- All trails and backcountry campgrounds
Also reopened were the concessionaire services including Volcano House, Namakanipaio campground and Kilauea Military Camp. Limited food service will begin on Friday.
The park was forced to furlough 127 employees during the partial government shutdown.
It also meant that the parks average of 4,500 daily visitors had to find alternative activities, costing the park an estimated $12,800 in daily entrance fees each day.
The reopening is also good news for businesses in nearby Volcano Village which were forced to lay off workers while the park was closed.
For more information on activities at Hawai`i Volcanoes, visit www.nps.gov/havo or call 808-985-6000.
The three other National Park Service sites on the Big Island also opened today.
They are Pu`uhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park and Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site. All three are located in West Hawai`i.
***Updated at 5:59 p.m.***