Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Reopens After Months of Seismic Activity
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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.
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.
“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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