Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Reopens After Months of Seismic Activity

Sep 22, 2018

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park finally reopened Saturday after the Big Island’s Kilauea volcano erupted in May and remained active throughout the summer. The hazardous volcano destroyed more than 700 homes and spewed ash and smoke as high as 30 feet in the air. As the eruption continued to expand, the Big Island also got hit with the largest earthquake the island has seen in the past 43 years.

The park closed on May 11, 2018, after these disastrous events resulted in the most damage the park has seen in its 102-year history. Although no molten lava remains in the park, officials are advising visitors to proceed with caution and expect limited services, parking, long lines and no potable water. Entry to the park on Sept. 22 will be free to honor National Public Lands Day, but entrance fees will be in effect again on Sept. 23: $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle and $15 per pedestrian or bicyclist.

PAHOA, HI - MAY 20: A steam plume rises as lava (C) enters the Pacific Ocean, after flowing to the water from a Kilauea volcano fissure, on Hawaii's Big Island on May 20, 2018 near Pahoa, Hawaii. Officials are concerned that 'laze', a dangerous product produced when hot lava hits cool ocean water, will affect residents. Laze, a word combination of lava and haze, contains hydrochloric acid steam along with volcanic glass particles. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
A steam plume rises as lava enters the Pacific Ocean, after flowing to the water from a Kilauea volcano fissure, on Hawaii’s Big Island on May 20, 2018 near Pahoa, Hawaii. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Park officials said they will be taking several steps during the coming months to get the park fully back to normal. This includes using a professional damage assessment team of geomorphologists, civil and structural engineers, and cultural and natural resource specialists to determine repair needs and costs for the park’s roads, buildings, waterlines and other infrastructure. They except some repairs could cost millions of dollars. Certain areas of the park endured more damage than others, and depending on available funding and ground stability, may remain closed for years, relocate or never reopen.  

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, established in 1916, is a United States National Park located in the U.S. State of Hawaii on the island of Hawaii. It displays the results of hundreds of thousands of years of volcanism, migration, and evolution?processes that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with complex and unique ecosystems and a distinct Ancient Hawaiian culture. Lava tubes are natural conduits through which lava travels beneath the surface of a lava flow, expelled by a volcano during an eruption. They can be actively draining lava from a source, or can be extinct, meaning the lava flow has ceased and the rock has cooled and left a long, cave-like channel.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, established in 1916, displays the results of hundreds of thousands of years of volcanism, migration, and evolution processes that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with complex and unique ecosystems and a distinct Ancient Hawaiian culture.

“We are thrilled to welcome our public back and share the incredible changes that have taken place,” Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando said in a statement. “We ask that you stay alert to these profound changes while enjoying your park and its resources.”

Photo by Kevin Thrash for Getty Images.

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