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Contact: Polly Angelakis, 808-572-4450The National Park Service is reminding people that on February 1, 2017, visitors in personal or rental vehicles wishing to view sunrise at Haleakalā National Park must make sunrise viewing reservations ahead of time at recreation.gov. The online reservation system, which began December 1, 2016, was implemented to ensure visitor and employee safety, protect natural and cultural resources, and provide a quality visitor experience at the summit during sunrise hours (3am to 7am). Before February 1, 2017, sunrise viewing parking spaces will continue to be available without advanced reservation, on a first-come, first-served basis.
The one-day $1.50 sunrise reservation is not sold at the park. It is only available at recreation.gov, up to 60 days ahead of the date of the sunrise visit.
“While sunrise visitors are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and make online reservations early, a small number of reservations will be available online 24 hours in advance,” said superintendent Natalie Gates. “In addition, we wish to emphasize that there is no change to the current policy under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, which waives fees for Kanaka Maoli so they can conduct cultural practices in the park.”
The sunrise viewing reservation cannot be transferred. To enter the Summit District between 3am and 7am, the reservation holder must be present and show both the one-day sunrise reservation receipt (for that day) and a photo ID. The park entrance fee is separate and payable by credit card or park pass on the day of visit. The entrance fee is good for three days, with receipt.
Due to limited parking, visitors without a sunrise viewing reservation will have to wait until after 7am to enter the park. There is no refund or exchange of the reservation due to inclement weather or change of plans. There is no change to the park’s current Commercial Use Authorization policy regarding sunrise tours.
The four summit sunrise viewing parking lots hold approximately 150 vehicles. Vehicles regularly exceed 300 per sunrise. When vehicles outnumber parking spaces, visitors park on road shoulders or in the upbound lane of Crater Road. The cars block emergency vehicle access and damage park infrastructure, vegetation, and critical habitat for endangered species such as the Hawaiian petrel and Haleakalā silversword.
Crowds at sunrise viewpoints often number over 1,000, with accidents resulting from visitors moving off trail and climbing cliff sides in the dark. Recreation.gov is easy to use and will ensure that reservation holders can access the summit and safely view sunrise.
In summer 2016 the park gathered public input on options regarding sunrise visitor management. This interim reservation system was deemed the best short-term option. In 2017, the park will begin developing a long-term Sunrise Summit Visitor Management Plan (Environmental Assessment), and will again welcome public comments. The long term plan will begin in late 2018 or early 2019, after the Environmental Assessment process is completed.
For more information about the new sunrise reservation system, go to recreation.gov or to the park’s website at www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit or call 572-4400.