World Heritage Site
Established on August 1, 1916, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park preserves for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations, the significant resources that reflect Hawai'i's geological, biological, and cultural heritage. These resources demonstrate the powerful and awe-inspiring volcanic forces that create new land and the unique adaptations of plants, animals, and people to that land.
The park's 333,086 acres extend from sea level to 13,677' and encompass the summits and rift zones of two of the world's most active volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. Kīlauea has been in nearly continuous eruption since 1983; Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984. The park's seven ecological zones harbor distinct plant and animal communities--home to many engaging creatures (happyface spiders, carnivorous caterpillars, picture wing flies, etc.) and are a refuge for many endangered species (hawksbill turtle and Hawaiian goose, dark-rumped petrel, hawk, and hoary bat).
The park perpetuates the island's Native Hawaiian culture and protects numerous and significant archeological sites--tangible reminders of an indigenous people forever linked to this land. Here in this wahi kapu, sacred place, the beat of the drum and heartfelt expression of chant remind us that the culture of Hawai'i is very much alive.
In recognition of its outstanding values, Hawai'i Volcanoes has been designated an International Biosphere Reserve (1980) and a World Heritage Site (1987).
Did You Know?
Large volumes of lava move in lava tubes beneath the hardened surface of recent flows. Skylights form when the roof of a lava tube collapses, revealing the molten lava flowing like a river within the tube.