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Contact: Jessica Ferracane/Public Affairs Specialist, 808-985-6018Hawaii National Park, HI – Smiling rangers, beautiful weather and drinking water welcomed visitors back into Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park today, which closed May 11 after unprecedented volcanic activity threatened public safety and damaged park roads, waterlines, buildings and trails.
Park rangers turned off the Park Closed sign on Highway 11 and replaced it with a new message: Welcome Back/Park Open. Rangers were able to open the park several hours ahead of schedule and the first vehicle – local Hilo residents – came in at 7 a.m. Although an official count wasn’t immediately available, an estimated several thousand people enjoyed the park under blue skies and cool tradewinds today.
Visitors were pleasantly surprised that drinking water had been restored in time for the reopening, thanks to members of the park’s Facilities Maintenance team who have worked diligently to repair pipes and the water system. In addition, Clyde the mule and ‘Ōhi‘a, a part quarter horse, greeted visitors.
“It was a picture-perfect day and our hearts are filled with joy to see our visitors and community return to their park,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We thank everyone for their patience, support and understanding during the last 134 days,” she said. Orlando assisted visitors near the Hōlei Sea Arch while other staff roved the park and interacted with visitors who were ecstatic the park is open.
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park now resumes its normal 24-hour a day operation. Saturday was National Public Lands Day, a fee-free day, and entrance fees will go into effect Sunday. Parts of the park remain closed until further damage assessments and repairs can be made.
For more information and a map of what is open in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and to learn about the new hazards including sink holes and earth cracks created by tens of thousands of earthquakes that preceded the opening, visit the park website: https://www.nps.gov/havo/closed_areas.htm.
High-resolution public domain photos are available on the park’s official Flickr page: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmiWDkv9.
Last updated: September 24, 2018