Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Reopens After 134 Day Closure
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park reopened over the weekend on Saturday, Sept. 22 after closing May 11 from unprecedented volcanic activity that damaged park infrastructure.
After a 134 day closure, park rangers turned off the Park Closed sign on Highway 11 and replaced it with a new message: “Welcome Back/Park Open”.
The opening day was National Public Lands Day, a fee-free day, and entrance fees went into effect the next day Sunday, Sept. 23.
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. Park rangers say an estimated several thousand people enjoyed the park under great weather.
Drinking water had also been restored in time for the reopening, thanks to members of the park’s Facilities Maintenance team who have worked to repair pipes and the water system damaged by volcanic activity.
“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.
The extended closure was due to unprecedented volcanic activity which threatened public safety, damaged park roads, waterlines, buildings and trails.
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 Hawai‘i 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.