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Contact: G. Dominic Cardea, 808 572-4450
Cumulative effects of the 6.7 earthquake of October 15, and heavy rains on the 17th and 18th caused road closures on either side of the Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park.
Superintendent Marilyn H. Parris closed the Kipahulua area of Haleakala National Park on Sunday, October 22nd in response concerns about visitors traveling on unsafe roads to get to the park. This closure includes the visitor center, campground, all trails including the Kaupo trail and the pools at Oheo gulch. Park rangers are on duty in Kipahulu for security. The closure will continue until visitors and staff can access the park safely.
“We value the safety of our visitors,” says Parris, “ and will not place them or staff at such a risk for the sake of a photograph or hike in the forest.”
FEMA inspectors declared that the Paihi Bridge, and numerous rock outcroppings along the highway on either side of the parks boundary could collapse at any moment. The Hana Highway, #360 is closed at mile marker #45.5 approximately 7 miles SW of Hana town and 3 miles from the Kipahulu visitor center. The south road (highway #31) is also closed at mile marker #16 just past the Ulupalakua store. Due to the county and state closure of these roads, there is no safe access to the Kipahulu area of the park.
“The photos of the cliff faces at Manwainui and Alalele scare me,” notes Chief of Interpretation Dominic Cardea, “we lost one of our own there two years ago and there is a real chance it could happen again to someone else.”
Kipahulu staff are preparing to move into a temporary information station next to the Hana Post Office until further notice. There is also an opportunity to learn about the park in the Hana Community Center (formerly old Hana School) in an un-staffed contact station with displays and handouts available to the public. Both stations will be open from 8:30 until 5 pm starting Monday, October 27.
“We have rangers on site protecting the resources of the park and providing security,” says Superintendent Parris. The park will remain closed until safe access to the park can be provided.