Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Plans Reopening for
National Public Lands Day
Parts of the park, closed since May 11 due to seismic activity, will reopen with limited hours September 22 should the current pause in earthquakes and collapse-explosion events continue.
“We have the difficult task ahead of us of identifying what we can safely open. Our first step will be bringing staff back into the park, while getting assessments done. National Public Lands Day is our goal but not definitive.”
Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando
The park’s staff is seeking feedback from the community regarding the direction the park should take once it reopens. Common themes include concerns over park congestion, and “pressing the reset button” to examine if the park should return to serving more than two million visitors a year.
The pause in seismicity and other activity allowed staff to assess damages and repair water lines, park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane said. While park hours upon reopening are expected to be limited, the Kilauea Visitor Center near the entrance will likely be among the areas, she said.
Officials are also looking for a possible viewing area for the public to be able to see the changes to Halemaumau Crater.
“We’re working really hard to determine where that will be because we know that’s what visitors will want to see. That’s a priority.”
park spokesperson~ Jessica Ferracane
The crater at a depth of more than 1,200 feet (366 meters) is about four times deeper than it was before the eruption, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The crater’s diameter has more than doubled, swallowing portions of a road and a parking lot.
Extensive damage to the Jaggar Museum means the facility will not be included in the reopening, Ferracane said. The Thurston lava tube will also be left out. A team will evaluate other park sites.
The barrage of seismic activity since the eruption has caused rock falls, sinkholes and fractures on the museum’s deck, hiking trails, parking lots and roads.
However, no significant seismic or collapse-explosion events have occurred at the summit since early August.