HAWAII NATURE NOTES
The Park in the War
For more than a year before the outbreak of war in the Pacific. the communities of the Territory had been girding themselves for the attack that came on December 7. The Volcano Unit of the Emergency Police Guard, comprised of members of the park staff and volunteers from adjoining communities, was called into service on that historic day to guard and patrol the park area and nearby sections, including twenty-four miles of seacoast along the southeastern shore of the Island of Hawaii. The regular staff assisted in establishing first aid stations, constructing air raid shelters, organizing and instructing fire protection brigades, and related activities. It helped in controlling alien travel and in executing the rationing program, and acted as custodian for alien property turned in by military orders. The Emergency Guard was subsequently merged with the Hawaii Rifles, a volunteer organization instructed by the Army.
The Haleakala Section was closed for a year to visitor travel, and its Red Hill area, one of the highest points in the Territory, was assigned to the Army for a radar installation. Along with it, a tract of land was turned over to the military for the operation of an Army camp. An Act of Congress temporarily withdrew 3052 acres of park lands in the Hilina Pali area and the Army Air Corps used it as a practice bombing range. To augment the Territory's beef supply, a 6,418-acre tract of park land on the Mauna Loa Strip was leased to the adjoining Kapapala Ranch for cattle fattening purposes. Huge tanks of the Army's 27th Division rumbled in the sunbaked Kau Desert as a part of the Division's training program. The influx of visitors became sufficiently great to create a demand for regularly-scheduled bus transportation, and K. Hatayama became the third concessioner in the Kilauea Section.
But the highest use to which the Land of Pele was put during the war was that use to which it had been dedicatedas a pleasuring groundand thousands and thousands of warweary soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and civilians came to relax in the silence of its trails and the splendor of its scenery. Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was a frequent visitor, but while he was one of the framers and executors of the strategy that conquered an empire, he failed to conquer George Lycurgus over the Volcano House cribbage board.
Hawaii National Parkthe Land of Pelestands as one of America's finest and most priceless possessions. Like its sister national parks, it is part of the heritage of every American, the property of no single one but of all, to be left unimpaired for the enjoyment of this generation and those to follow. As the line of America's once extensive wilderness continues to give way to the plow, as its forests tumble under the steel of the axe, and as its mountains are blighted by the miners' probings, the national parks loom ever greater in the cultural, spiritual, and physical life of the Nation that conceived them.
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