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National Parks Span the Tropical Pacific

May 29, 2015

Come take the 9,000 mile tour of the U.S. national parks in the tropical Pacific islands !

parks map

U.S. national park units throughout the tropical Pacific Ocean.

The Pacific Island Network (PACN) Inventory and Monitoring Program (I&M) is one of 32 National Park Service I&M Networks across the country facilitating collaboration, information sharing, and economies of scale in natural resources monitoring.

Spanning islands in American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana archipelago, and Hawaii, the Pacific Island Network encompasses an area as large as the continental United States.

The islands and near-shore marine areas within the National Park System protect a wealth of the planet’s aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, unique geologic features, and cultural sites. Isolated from the continental land-masses, these federally protected areas share similarities, including threats from invasive species, limited land area, and finite resources inherent on islands.

Cultural Demonstration Series Begins

May 28, 2015
Bolly Helekahi teaching coconut weaving.

Bolly Helekahi teaching coconut weaving.

On Monday, June 1, cultural practitioner Bolly Helekahi will launch the 2015 Hana No`eau cultural demonstration series, in the Kīpahulu District of Haleakalā National Park. Helekahi will teach coconut weaving between 1pm and 3pm.

Hana No`eau refers to demonstrating and honoring Native Hawaiian traditions.

“We are proud to offer the second year of this series,” said superintendent Natalie Gates. “We appreciate the support of the Hawai`i Pacific Parks Association, our non-profit partner, in funding Hana No`eau.”

The weekly demonstrations are offered in Kīpahulu on Sundays or Mondays between 1pm and 3pm; and in the Summit on Fridays or Saturdays from 10am to 12pm. For a list of planned events please visit

Practitioners wishing to participate in this series will find an application at any Haleakalā National Park visitor center or online at

If you happen to participate in any of our cultural demonstration series programs during the summer season, feel free to share any of your photos with us on Facebook or Twitter and be sure to use the hashtag ‪#‎FindYourPark‬ when you do!

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!


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