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Go Wild for Haleakalā National Park!

April 20, 2014


Ranger Hike

As part of National Park Week, “Go Wild” for the unique plants and animals of Haleakalā, many of which are found nowhere else on earth. Explore a trail at the Summit or at Kīpahulu. Participate in numerous activities at park visitor centers. National Park Week extends from April 19 to April 27, 2014. To start the celebration, all national parks will waive entrance fees on April 19 and 20.

On Monday April 21, at 10am, Laura Berthold of the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project will give a presentation about rare native birds at Hosmer Grove in the Summit District. She will then be available in Hosmer Grove until 2:30pm to provide bird watching tips and answer questions about bird ecology.

On Wednesday April 23, from 10am to noon, visitors can explore first mile of the Supply Trail with park staff to learn more about park history. Meet at the Supply Trailhead, along the Hosmer Grove Road.

 Saturday April 26 is Junior Ranger Day. Activities include Native Hawaiian cultural demonstrations, games, and crafts in both districts. There will also be a guided family hike through Hosmer Grove from noon to 1pm.


Cultural Demonstration

Throughout the week visitors can play national park trivia games in all park visitor centers and participate in daily special talks, cultural demonstrations, or hikes.

Program times will be posted at park visitor centers, on the park website (, or call 572-4459 (Summit) or 248-7375 (Kīpahulu) for a daily schedule.

Visit for more information about what is going on at Haleakalā National Park and other National Park Service sites throughout the country. You can share your park experiences and photos on the website.

 National Park Week is also a good time to explore local parks, trails, and architectural treasures maintained through National Park Service programs such as the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program and the National Register of Historic Places.

Celebrate Easter!

April 20, 2014


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Hula Plant Photo of the Day: Pa‘iniu

April 20, 2014

Aloha, and Happy Easter Sunday! Today is the first day of the Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long hula competition that celebrates its 51st year of bringing the best hālau hula (hula dance troupes) from around the world to compete and share their talents on stage at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Tennis Stadium in Hilo. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will blog a hula plant of the day throughout the festival, and when possible, include where in the park you can observe these beautiful, native flora. These hula plants were selected after participating  in a recent “Nā Mea Kanu O Ka Hula” (Plants of Hula) Institute with the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, led by Kumu Hula Ab Kawainohoikala‘i Valencia of Hālau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu. Mahalo Ab for selflessly sharing your mana‘o with us!

It is also National Park Week April 19-27, and we invite you to “Go Wild for Culture” at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park! Admission is free this weekend (April 19-20).



The endemic lily, or pa‘iniu, shown flowering. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

Today’s Plant is Pa‘iniu. The pa‘iniu (Astelia menziesiana) is one of few endemic lilies of Hawai‘i, and is used as nā wehiwehi hula, or as a hula adornment. Hula practitioners weave its silvery leaves into lei haku – a braided style of lei using several different plant materials, or lei wili, the winding style of lei. These lei can be worn around the head as lei po‘o, or around the neck as lei ‘ā‘ī .

Pa‘iniu can be observed in the forests surrounding the rim of Kīlauea. The pa‘iniu in this photo is thriving near the intersection of Halema‘uma‘u and ‘Iliahi trails, having been rescued from a thicket of invasive Himalayan ginger by the park’s Stewardship at the Summit volunteers. Other places to observe this striking endemic lily are the trails between Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) and Byron Ledge. Please remember: take only photographs and memories, and leave only footprints when you visit your national parks!

Let Your Imagination “Go Wild” in Your National Parks!

April 20, 2014


Looking for something fun and fantastic to do with family and friends? Head out to America’s national parks where millions of stars light up the dark night sky, deer and antelope (and a few other critters!) play on the wide open range, and history is an unbelievable experience, not a boring class lecture.

The National Park Service is proud to once again join with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, to present on April 19-27, 2014, National Park Week, a presidentially proclaimed celebration of our national heritage.

You can plan your visit by what you want to do, or where you want to go … or you can browse our event calendar and check out the special programs offered throughout the week. On opening weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 19 to 20, every national park will give you free admission! Don’t miss the video below for a bit of inspiration.

On April 26, National Junior Ranger Day, parks will invite young visitors to “explore, learn, protect” and be sworn in as junior rangers. April 22 is Earth Day, so if you want to roll up your sleeves and pitch in with a project, look for a park where you can help out. It’s a perfect time to simply get outdoors and take a walk in a park.

Also, don’t forget to check out There you can share your national park photos, videos, and tips. While you’re there, learn all about the ways you can help support your national parks all year round.

Get to know one of your national parks during National Park Week, and go wild… for history… for nature… for wildlife… for fun!

For more information on how YOU can “Go Wild” in the National Parks of Hawaii Island, visit

Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
Pu`uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 

Who is Pele?

April 19, 2014

It’s National Park Week, today through April 27!  This year’s theme is Go Wild, and at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, we invite you to Go Wild for Culture. We recently asked a staff member for the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, kumu hula Ab Kawainohoikala‘i Valencia of Hālau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu, what this park means to him. We asked him to pick one word to describe Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and his word was Pele. Find out who Pele is by watching the short video below:


Ab began our interview with an oli, a chant, to Pele. His oli gives us chicken skin everytime we watch this:


And not only is it National Park Week, but it’s also the 51st anniversary of the Merrie Monarch Festival, the prestigious week-long hula competition that starts Easter Sunday in Hilo. This year, the Merrie Monarch Festival and National Park Week coincide, so it was easy to decide that our theme should be Go Wild for Culture. We will also bring back the Hula Plant Photo of the Day blog post to “Go Wild for Culture” and to commemorate the Merrie Monarch Festival. Check back in a few hours to see what plants kumu Ab helped us select for this colorful week-long series.

Have a wonderful National Park Week! We have many cultural programs planned at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, starting next week, April 23-25. We hope to see you here, and that you discover for yourself Who Is Pele? Please share and like this post if you enjoyed it.

Mahalo nui loa from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park!



“Spiders,” New Technology and Monitoring Hawaii’s Volcanoes

April 18, 2014

This portable “power” platform is designed to be slung by helicopter to temporary monitoring sites on Hawaiian volcanoes. The platform is being used at Webcam sites and at Kīlauea’s summit to measure activity of the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater—a continuously recording gravity meter and an experimental camera for measuring sulfur dioxide gas (shown here). The platform can also be used for other types of monitoring instruments. (USGS)

The following is this week’s edition of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory‘s Volcano Watch:

When Mount St. Helens reawakened in late September 2004 with an intense swarm of earthquakes and very noticeable uplift of the volcano’s crater floor, there was great uncertainty as to how the activity would unfold and what style of eruption might result. Would there be a strong explosive eruption similar to the infamous eruption on May 18, 1980, or the subsequent effusion of viscous lava that formed a massive lava dome from 1980 through 1986? 

As the activity intensified and monitoring stations in the crater were destroyed by small, steam-driven explosions, scientists at the Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) needed to install additional instruments in the crater to better track the earthquakes and ground deformation in real time. The uncertainty and potential for explosive activity, however, meant that the crater was considered extremely hazardous to scientists spending any more than a few minutes there. 

A typical monitoring station for detecting earthquakes or deformation consists of solar panels, batteries, antenna mast, housing for the electronics, and instrument pad or monument. Installing such a station requires multiple helicopter sling loads to the site and many hours to assemble by people working on the ground. 

Then CVO scientists designed and built self-contained, portable units that could be slung into place—and even moved or retrieved—by helicopter, without needing people to work at the site. These units were designed with non-rechargeable batteries to eliminate the solar panels and avoid problems with snow and ice during winter conditions. 

Nicknamed “spiders” because of their long-legged framework, several were placed on the old dome only 11 days after the start of earthquake activity! The spiders quickly showed that the old dome was moving northward as much as 2 cm (3/4 inch) per day. The massive dome was being shouldered aside by a mass of magma ascending beneath its south side. 

Lava finally erupted onto the crater floor about a week later and continued erupting through early 2008 to form a new dome nearly equal in volume to the 1980–86 dome. During the 3.5-year eruption, nearly 3 dozen spiders were used to successfully monitor the dome’s activity. 

View of north side of a lava dome on Mount St. Helens from a location immediately south of 1980-1986 lava dome. Circle shows the location of an instrument station on the dome. Inset shows the instrument station, a “tilt-leg spider” package named CDAN, on top of the north-face of the dome. This station housed a GPS unit and a seismometer until it was destroyed by an explosion on January 16, 2005, 36-hours after placement. (USGS photos, January 14, 2005)

The spiders were made possible in such a short period of time because CVO scientists had started developing a prototype GPS-based system for monitoring ground movement in 2000. The system was designed to be low-cost, require minimal power, and transmit data reliably and repeatedly. Fortuitously, the critical electronic, telemetry, and data-processing parts of the system had proven to work well by the time Mount St. Helens reawakened in 2004. For more information, see this publication (

More recently, a portable instrument package was developed at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) to quickly and easily deploy Webcams for recording activity at new eruptive vents and tracking the location and advancement of lava flows in real time. 

Like spiders, they can be slung by helicopter to remote sites, but they require scientists on the ground to set up the cameras, install and align the radio antennas, and connect the final wiring. Still, the new platforms greatly reduce the time and effort needed to deploy Webcams and other monitoring stations. 

The core of HVO’s portable unit is an aluminum framework strong enough to be slung by helicopter while also supporting the power system (solar panels and batteries), camera tripod, and the electronics needed to acquire, store, and transmit data to the observatory. 

With the help of a long-term volunteer, Frank Box, HVO now has several of these units ready for deployment when the eruption of Kīlauea changes or activity ramps up at one of the other active volcanoes in Hawaiʻi. The pre-fabrication will save many days of preparation time and reduce the number of sling loads needed to quickly install several new, temporary monitoring stations with minimal impact to a site.

Saving hawksbill turtles, one plant at a time

April 17, 2014

How do you help endangered hawksbill turtles survive? One plant at a time! Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park natural resources management staff recently planted 746 naupaka kahaki (Scaevola taccada,), an indigenous coastal shrub, near the remote lagoon beach at Halapē.

working at Halapē

Park staff David Benitez (front), Paul Keli‘ihoomalu, and Fred Aiona (back) are seen removing non-native haole koa at Halapē. Following haole koa removal, this area was planted with the native shrub coastal naupaka (Scaevola taccada).NPS Photo/Mark Wasser.

The planting serves a dual purpose: it establishes a barrier to prevent further expansion of non-native, invasive koa haole from encroaching further along the shoreline, and it improves the habitat quality for nesting hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricate) by stabilizing the sand.

naupaka & hawksbill hatchlings

Hawksbill turtle hatchlings head towards the ocean. NPS Photo.

Hawksbill turtles, called honu ‘ea in Hawaiian, are a federally endangered sea turtle that nest primarily on the eastern beaches of Hawai‘i Island. Two of their primary nesting areas are located within the park.

Apua hawksbill

A female hawksbill turtle at ‘Āpua Point, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo.

Naupaka planting

Mark Wasser planting naupaka kahakai at Halapē. NPS Photo/David Benitez.

This post was authored by Mark Wasser,  who works in the Restoration Ecology Program at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, part of the Natural Resource Management division. 


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