Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park   3 comments

Hawaii Volcanoes NP 00Where Is It: The Park is on the island of Hawai`i. It’s 30 miles from Hilo, or 96 miles from Kailua-Kona.

The Birth: Kilauea and its Halemaʻumaʻu caldera were traditionally considered the sacred home of the volcano goddess Pele.

President Woodrow Wilson signed the Park into existence in 1916. It was the 11th National Park in the US, but the first created in a Territory.

It Happened Here: In April 2013, a 15-year old boy tried leaping over a barrier surrounding a steam vent … and fell 25′ into the vent. He survived with minor injuries.

In August 2013, a 73-year old man climbed over a barrier on a trail, and then fell down a 115′ cliff. He was not discovered until a day later, when another hiker heard his cries for help. He suffered injuries to his pelvis and shoulder.

Age doesn’t matter: stay behind the barriers. Volcanoes are a dangerous place!

Size: 323,431 acres

# Visitors: 1,483,928 in 2012.

Plants: From the Park’s website:

Along the wind-scoured coastal plain, lone tendrils of an a’e fern peer from cracks in endless flows of hardened lava. At the Park’s mid-elevation, blazing blooms of ‘ohi’a trees and towering fronds of giant hapu’u, a tree fern, rise amid a tangle of misty rain forest. Miles above, the distinctive rosette of the endangered Mauna Loa silversword clings to an alpine ledge. Evolving over 70 million years ago in nearly complete isolation, more than 90% of the State’s native flora are found only in the Hawaiian Islands. Today, the Park harbors the descendents of those first colonizers—numerous evolutionary marvels such as mintless mints and nettleless nettles—plants adapted to life without plant-eating mammals.

Animals: The Park is the home of carnivorous caterpillars, crickets that like new lava flows, Honu, the endangered sea turtles, the largest dragonfly in the US, and just one terrestrial mammal: a bat.

Choices: Most visitors want to go see “live lava,” and that is not easy. Read about our visit to the Park on our 30th Anniversary … and how unprepared we were … here. That new lava flow, by the way, adds to the size of the state of Hawaii, as all new lava is officially state property.

Fees: Entrance is $10 per vehicle for a 7-day pass.

Staying There: Volcano House has only 33 rooms in the hotel, plus 10 cabins and campsites that it manages. It’s difficult to get reservations with that few opportunities available, obviously, so plan ahead.

Backcountry camping is by permit only for groups of 12 or less, who can only hike for 3 nights. You must register at the Kilauea Visitor Center prior to departure. You are required to hike out everything you pack in. All trash must be packed out.

Contact Info:

P.O. Box 52
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718-0052
(808) 985-6000

Current Issues: The park is being overrun by non-native ungulates.

And who would like that?

These “non-natives” have been a part of the island for centuries in some cases … but that’s not native enough for the Park staff. They have a plan now in place to shoot most of the feral pigs, goats and axis deer. They’re also thinking of using either a boundary fence for the entire park, or limited regional fencing within the Park. For the details of the whys and hows, read about it here.


National Park Service: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

National Parks Of The Pacific Islands: Where’s The Lava?

BigIslandVideoNews.com: Kalauea….

Jason’s Travels: Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

MowryJournal.com: Earth Should Not Steam, Right?

Posted January 3, 2014 by henrymowry in National Parks

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