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HVNP Makes Progress Toward Reopening Sept. 22

August 31, 2018, 3:58 PM HST
* Updated September 2, 8:55 AM
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Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is finishing emergency repairs and making progress towards reopening parts of the park by 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22, National Public Lands Day.

A team including National Park Service Geomorphologist Eric Bilderback log earthquake damage and assess stability along Crater Rim Trail. NPS Photo/Jon Christensen.

As of Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, 32 buildings have been inspected, non-potable water has been restored to nine buildings, and 20 miles of trail have been assessed by the National Park Service geomorphologist. On Sept. 10, a team of engineers from the Federal Highway Administration will begin assessments on park roads. Due to extensive earthquake damage, no vehicles over 15,000 pounds will be allowed to enter the park when it reopens.

Flushing waterline near Kīlauea Visitor Center. PC: NPS

A new Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park “Recovery” webpage is now available to share updates and photos with the public.
For the first time in many years, there is no molten lava to see in the park. The recent eruption saw the disappearance of the summit lava lake and lava flows from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō have ceased.
Following a lengthy closure due to months of hazardous volcanic and seismic activity at the summit of Kīlauea, the park is preparing to reopen the following areas on Sept. 22 by 10 a.m.:
  • Kīlauea Visitor Center (closes at 5 p.m.)
  • Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association store at Kīlauea Visitor Center (closes at 5 p.m.)
  • Crater Rim Trail between Volcano House and Kīlauea Military Camp
  • Sulphur Banks Trail
  • Crater Rim Drive to Steam Vents
  • Kīlauea Iki Overlook and parking lot
  • Devastation Trail and Pu‘u Pua‘i
  • Crater Rim Drive to Keanakāko‘i Crater, for pedestrians and bicyclists only
  • Mauna Loa Road to Kīpukapuaulu; open to pedestrians and bicyclists past Kīpukapuaulu
  • Sections of Escape Road from Highway 11
  • Chain of Craters Road
The Volcano Art Center Gallery and Kīlauea Military Camp also plan to open on Sept. 22. Limited services may be available at Volcano House.
The entrance station will open by 10 a.m. on Sept. 22, and the park will go back to being open 24 hours a day. National Public Lands Day is a fee-free day so entrance fees will not be charged on Sept. 22. Entrance fees will go into effect on Sun., Sept. 23. Areas not listed above should be presumed closed. There is no drinking water in the park. Unforeseen circumstances could delay the projected reopening. During the last several weeks, two hurricanes threatened the park, and a damaging wildfire burned nearly 3,800 acres of native forest on Mauna Loa.

NPS Geomorphologists inspect rockfall on Byron Ledge Trail
NPS Photo/Jon Christensen

An initial interior inspection was completed on Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), but additional assessments are needed. It will remain closed for now. Between May and August, 62 collapse-explosion events at the summit of Kīlauea produced scores of rockfalls and fractured park overlooks, trails, waterlines, parking lots and roads.
The theme for this year’s National Public Lands Day, a fee-free day when outdoor enthusiasts turn out to give back and enjoy their favorite outdoor places, is Resilience & Restoration. Next week, the park will announce opportunities for volunteers to assist with recovery efforts and begin recruitment.

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