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Register for Free, 3-Day Summer Junior Ranger Program at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

May 22, 2015
Children hiking Kilauea Iki

Keiki hike Kīlauea Iki Trail in Hawai‘i Volcanoes NP. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

Keiki eight to 13 years old are invited to “Find Your Park” and become junior rangers through Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s Keiki o Hawai‘i Nei summer program. The fun-filled, three-day program begins Wednesday, June 24 and ends Friday, June 26. The program is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

Keiki o Hawai‘i Nei is designed to encourage a child’s enthusiasm for discovery by connecting them with the park’s resources and staff, and to inspire their appreciation of what is uniquely Hawaiian by exploring the natural and cultural heritage of Hawai‘i.

Participants must bring and be able to carry their own day pack with water, snacks, lunch, and raingear, and hike up to three miles over uneven terrain at a leisurely pace. To reserve a space, call the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park at (808) 985-7373 or email deadline to register is Friday, June 19.

Children will explore Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and visit the national parks on the west side of Hawai‘i Island. Transportation is provided, and there is no cost to enroll.

The summer Keiki o Hawai‘i Nei program is co-sponsored by the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association and the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

La Réunion and Hawai‘i Connect through Sister Park Agreement

May 21, 2015

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and a French volcanic island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, signed a sister park agreement yesterday to fortify the mutual collaboration and cooperation between both parks.

Piton de la Fournaise erupts

An eruption consisting of several lava fountains started on Feb. 4, 2015 at Piton de la Fournaise on La Réunion Island. USGS photo.

Both Hawai‘i Volcanoes and La Réunion national parks feature active volcanoes and are celebrated throughout the world for their geological, biological, and cultural attributes. Both islands are located in the middle of vast oceans, and are situated over volcanic hot spots. La Réunion’s Piton de la Fournaise (“Peak of the Furnace”), is listed among earth’s most active volcanoes and stands 8,632 feet above sea level. Like Kīlauea, it is a shield volcano and is currently erupting.

Both parks are designated as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which seeks to encourage the identification, protection, and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

“La Réunion is a wonderful ambassador on behalf of the precious world heritage of France. Our resources join us together – shield volcanoes and endemic and endangered species. We are proud to share with the community the joining of two of the wonders of the world,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

Sister park agreement signing

Hawai‘i Volcanoes superintendent Cindy Orlando and La Reunion president Daniel Gonthier sign sister park agreement. NPS Photo

The sister park relationship enables both parks to enrich their personnel through projects of international cooperation, accomplished primarily through the exchange of managerial, technical and professional knowledge, information, and data technology.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park also has sister park agreements with Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes in South Korea and with Wudalianchi National Park in China. Like Hawai‘i Volcanoes, Jeju is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Representatives from all three sister parks participated in the BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival, held May 15-16 at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

La Reunion exhibit booth at BioBlitz 2015

Representatives of La Reunion National Park participated in the BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival, May 15-16, 2015. Photo courtesy of Janice Wei.

The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recently initiated a new collaboration and exchange program between the USGS HVO and the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise. See the February 19, 2015 Volcano Watch article for details.

New Park Entrance Fees Approved for Haleakalā National Park

May 21, 2015

Increased entrance fees to Haleakalā National Park have been approved by the National Park Service. One significant modification to the new fee structure was based on public input.

entrance station

Beginning on June 1, 2015, Haleakalā National Park daily fees will raise incrementally in 2015, 2016, and 2017 to meet national standards for parks with similar visitor amenities. The per-person fee will change from the current rate of $5 to $12 in 2017, in two-to-three dollar increments per year. The motorcycle fee will go from $5 to $20 in 2017, in $5 annual increases. The per-vehicle pass will be raised in $5 increments from the current price of $10 to $25 in 2017. The tri-park annual pass, considered by many to be a “locals” pass, will remain at the current rate of $25 in 2015 and 2016, and then increase to $30 in 2017. Based on public input, the park proposed a $30 fee for the tri-park annual pass instead of the national standard of $50.

The tri-park annual pass permits unlimited entry into Haleakalā National Park, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, and Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park will implement the same fee changes as Haleakalā National Park.

Kīpahulu Facilities

Kīpahulu Facilities

From mid-October through mid-December 2014 a public comment period was held. Comments were gathered at visitor centers, online, via postal mail and email, and at two public meetings (one in Hana; one in Pukalani). The park received 58 comments fully supportive of the proposed increases; 23 supportive if the fees were phased in or lowered; 56 comments opposed to any fee increase; and 16 miscellaneous comments. The park modified the proposed fee structure based on this input. The modified proposal was approved by national fee managers in Washington.

Pā Ka'oao trail rehab

Pā Ka’oao trail rehab

Since 1997, fee revenues have funded $36.6 million in Haleakalā National Park projects. Some past examples of work include: $2.75 million of improved visitor amenities in Kīpahulu (new rest rooms, potable water, new parking lot); restoring trails throughout the park ($500,000 annually); and completing archeological surveys ($499,500 in 2010). Entrance fees also supported the control of invasive species ($299,000, in 2013); stabilization of silversword populations ($60,000 annually, 2012-13); and restoration of native landscapes ($113,000 in 2013).

The current National Park Service fee program began in 1997 and allows parks to retain 80% of monies collected. The remaining 20% goes into a fund to support park units where fees are not charged. Currently Haleakalā National Park collects $3 million annually in entrance fees. When entrance fee increases are fully implemented, estimated annual revenues will be over $7 million.

Silversword planting

Silversword planting

In 2014, 1,142,040 visitors to Haleakalā National Park spent over $70 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 837 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of over $84 million.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Will Increase Entrance & Camping Fees Beginning June 1, 2015

May 20, 2015

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will incrementally increase entrance and camping fees over the next three years in order to fund deferred maintenance and improvement projects within the park, and to meet national standards for parks with similar visitor amenities. Entrance fees for recreational use have not increased since 1997.

volcanic glow in the park

Visitors gather along the Jaggar Museum observation deck to observe the glow from the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u Crater. Photo courtesy of Alex Werjefelt/Mala‘e Productions

Beginning June 1, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will increase its per-vehicle entrance fee in $5 increments from the current price of $10 per vehicle to $15 per-vehicle this year, $20 in 2016, and $25 in 2017. The vehicle pass is valid for seven days. The per-person entrance fee (the rate bicyclists and pedestrians pay) will increase from the current rate of $5 to $8 on June 1, $10 in 2016, and to $12 in 2017. The motorcycle fee will go up from $5 to $10 on June 1, $15 in 2016, and to $20 in 2017.

One significant modification to the new fee structure was based on public input. The annual Tri-Park Pass, considered by many as the kama‘āina, or residents pass, will remain at the current rate of $25 for 2015 and 2016, and will increase to $30 in 2017. Based on public input, the park proposed a $30 fee for the Tri-Park Pass, instead of the national standard of $50. The annual Tri-Park Pass is available to all visitors and allows unlimited entry for one year to three national parks: Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, and Haleakalā National Park.

New fees are also slated for all backcountry and front-country campsites, including Kulanaokuaiki Campground, and will be $10 per site per night. Backcountry campsites will have a stay limit of three consecutive nights, while the front-country campsites will have a stay limit of seven consecutive nights. Currently, camping is free, except at Nāmakanipaio Campground, which is managed by Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC. The new camping permit fees are similar to other public camping fees statewide.

In addition, entrance fees will increase for commercial tour companies. Currently, road-based tour vans carrying one to six passengers pay a $25 base fee and $5 per person to enter the park. The commercial per-person entrance rates will increase to $8 in 2015; $10 in 2016; and $12 in 2017 and will remain at $12 through 2021. The base fee will not change. Non-road-based tour companies, i.e. hiking tour companies that are on trails more than they are touring the park by vehicle, don’t pay a base rate but their per-person entrance fees would increase under the proposed schedule.

“The increases over the next few years will enable us to continue to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors, while upgrading some basic services like our campgrounds,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We reached out to our community for their feedback on the new fees, and many comments were supportive of the increase as long as the Tri-Park Pass continued to be offered,” she said.

Tri Park Pass

2015 Tri-Park Pass for Hawai‘i Volcanoes, Haleakalā, and Pu‘uhonua 0 Hōnaunau

Recreational entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years old, or holders of the Tri-Park, America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Senior, Access, or Military passes. These passes may be obtained at the park, or online.

The current National Park Service (NPS) fee program began in 1997 and allows parks to retain 80 percent of monies collected. Projects funded by entrance fees at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park include ongoing trail maintenance, cabin repairs, hike pamphlets, restrooms, picnic tables, and more. The transformation of the 1932 Administration Building (‘Ōhi‘a Wing) into a cultural museum that visitors will soon enjoy is also a fee-funded project. Entrance fees also protect the Hawaiian ecosystem by funding fencing projects that prevent non-native ungulates like pigs and goats from devouring rare native plants.

An NPS report shows that 1,693,005 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2014 spent $136,838,700 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,672 jobs on island, and had a cumulative benefit to the local community of $170,878,000.

Kulanaokuaiki picnic table

Picnicking at Kulanaokuaiki campground. NPS Photo/Stephen Geiger

Sa’ili Lou Paka (Find Your Park)

May 19, 2015

Ia e maimoa lelei i le ata fa’asolo lea o le Sa’ili Lou Paka ua fa’aliliuina i le fa’aSamoa.

Enjoy this Samoan version of the Find Your Park video!

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz Blends Best of Western Science with Traditional Hawaiian Culture

May 17, 2015

After two intensive days of exploration and documentation, the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival held on May 15 and 16, 2015, captured a vivid snapshot of the unique plant and animal biodiversity in park. The event brought together more than 170 leading scientists and traditional Hawaiian cultural practitioners, more than 850 students and thousands from the general public. Together they conducted a comprehensive inventory of the plants, insects, mammals, birds and other species that inhabit the 333,086-acre island park. Under the theme of I ka nānā no a ‘ike (“By observing, one learns), alakai‘i were integrated into the survey teams for a more holistic approach to the research and exploration endeavor.

Student examines ‘ōhi‘a lehua blossom

Students on an inventory. Chris Johns for National Geographic/Your Shot


  • More than 6,000 people, including more than 850 schoolchildren, participated in the BioBlitz and the concurrent Biodiversity & Cultural Festival.
  • With a scientist-to-student ratio of 1 to 5, students were able to truly work side-by-side with top scientists.
  • 22 new species (including jumping spiders) were added to the park’s species list, and sightings of 73 species at risk, including the Kamehameha butterfly and the federally endangered nēnē, were documented.
  • The BioBlitz survey more than doubled the number of fungi species on the park’s list with 17 new fungi documented at the close of the event. Many more will be added in coming days and weeks.
  • The initial scientific species count as of the afternoon BioBlitz closing ceremony on Saturday, May 16, was 416, with 1,535 observations recorded over the course of the two-day event. Organizers expect this number to increase significantly over the next several months as cutting-edge testing of the collected samples continues.
  • The 35th annual Cultural Festival was moved from July to this weekend and expanded to include biodiversity booths and activities. The festival showcased how Hawaiians are true ecological experts and I ka nānā no a ‘ike principles continue today. The Biodiversity & Cultural Festival included hands-on science and cultural exhibits, food, art and top Hawaiian music and dance performances.
closeup of Argentine ant

Argentine ants were sighted near Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube). Photo courtesy Alex Werjefelt

close up on jumping spider

Jumping spiders were among the 22 new species recorded for the park. Photo courtesy/Thomas Shahan via iNaturalist

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz is part scientific endeavor, part outdoor classroom excursion and part celebration of biodiversity and culture. Participants combed the park, observing and recording as many plant and animal species as possible in 24 hours. Activities included catching insects, spotting birds, observing plants and fungi, and using technology to better understand the diverse ecosystems across the park.

“The BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival presented an incredible opportunity to connect the community with leading scientists, international sister parks, and cultural practitioners this weekend,” said park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “This event embodies our National Park Service centennial mission to encourage everyone to Find Your Park — literally — by exploring and understanding our vital connection to our natural world,” she said.

Children learn to pound poi

Keiki pound poi at the concurrent Biodiversity & Cultural Festival. NPS Photo/Christa Sadler

“The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz was a wonderful combination of past, present and future,” said John Francis, National Geographic’s vice president for research, conservation and exploration. “It was so exciting to bring together western science and traditional Hawaiian culture and pair it with the great iNaturalist app, smartphones and pumped-up cell service courtesy of Verizon.  I hope this holistic approach serves as a model for other BioBlitzes and scientific endeavors.”

Students at Mauna Ulu

Students contribute to science at an inventory at Mauna Ulu. Photo by Andrew Hara National Geographic Your Shot

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Parks BioBlitz was the ninth in a series of 10 annual BioBlitzes hosted by the National Geographic Society and the National Park Service leading up to the National Park Service centennial in 2016. During closing ceremonies, the BioBlitz flag was passed to Karen Cucurullo, Acting Superintendent for the National Mall and Memorial Parks, and Dr. Michael Stebbins, Assistant Director for Biotechnology in the Science Division of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. The 2016 National Capital Parks BioBlitz, will feature inventory activities at national park sites in and around Washington, D.C., May 20-21, 2016. The capital celebration will the cornerstone of BioBlitzes and biodiversity events at U.S. national parks that same weekend.

Passing the BioBlitz flag from Hawai‘i Volcanoes to Washington, D.C.

Karen Cucurullo, Acting Superintendent for the National Mall and Memorial Parks, accepts the BioBlitz flag at the podium.

Citizen scientists and students in the field

Citizen scientists and students in the field. National Geographic Your Shot photo/Chris A. Johns

The first BioBlitz was held at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., in 2007. The second took place at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California in 2008. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was the site of the third BioBlitz in 2009; Biscayne National Park outside Miami was the 2010 site; Saguaro National Park in Tucson hosted the 2011 BioBlitz; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado was the 2012 host park; in 2013 BioBlitz took place at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve outside New Orleans; and Golden Gate National Parks in Northern California hosted BioBlitz 2014.

Youth ambassadors pose on stage

Emcee Mileka Lincoln poses with the Youth Ambassadors. Park Ranger Julia Espaniola, far left, was named the BioBlitz Youth Ambassador representing Hawai‘i Volcanoes. NPS Photo.

Exploring Kīlauea caldera

Representatives from sister parks, Jeju Volcanic Island and lava Tubes (South Korea) and Wudalianchi National Park in China, join Ranger Dean “Into the Volcano.” NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Hula dancer in kapa pā‘ū

Dancer Amy Kaawaloa of Hālau Hulu Ulumamo o Hilo Palikū, the opening program for the Biodiversity & Cultural Festival. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

Verizon is the lead sponsor of the 2015 Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz. Generous individual, organization and foundation support has been provided by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas D. Rutherfoord Jr., Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, Harold M. and Adeline S. Morrison Family Foundation, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, Edmund C. Olson Trust II, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Additional generous corporate supporters include Kona Brewing Company, KapohoKine Adventures, First Hawaiian Bank, Roberts Hawai‘i, Alaska Airlines and Big Island Candies. In-kind donations have been received from Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company LLC, KTA Super Stores, Hawai‘i Forest & Trail, Impact Photographics and Aloha Crater Lodge.

Kenneth Makuakane

Musician, singer and songwriter Kenneth Makuakāne performed both days. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

Kumu Hula Ab Valenica

Kumu Hula Ab Valencia led several inventories about the plants used in hula. NPS Photo/Jon Christensen

Looking for birds with binoculars

Students spot birds with binoculars at Devastation Trail. Photo/Andrew Hara, National Geographic Your Shot

Scientist with iPad

Technology meets nature! Dr. Darcy Hu, Coordinator & Science Advisor for the Hawai’i-Pacific Islands Islands Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, (CESU), at Kīlauea Overlook. Photo courtesy of Marvin A. Watts.

Biodiversity mural

Student graduates of “Biodiversity University” signed a giant mural, pledging to protect the environment. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson


About the National Geographic Society

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, we fund hundreds of research, conservation and education programs around the globe. Every month, we reach more than 700 million people through our media platforms, products and events. Our work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives is supported through donations, purchases and memberships. For more information, visit and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

About the National Park Service

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at, on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

800 students get ready for BioBlitz 2015

May 12, 2015

May 15th, 2015… Over 800 students will descend upon the forests, grasslands, and lava fields of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park for a one-time, park-wide science and cultural event. Thousands of other people are expected to follow in their footsteps through May 16th.

Are you ready to join us?

For more information:


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