Hawaii volcanoes park could reopen several areas soon
HILO, Hawaii (AP) — Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is on track to reopen several areas later this month after closing in May because of the Kilauea volcano eruption, park officials said.
The National Park Service is planning to reopen several trails, roads and popular sites at the Big Island park on Sept. 22, including the Kilauea Visitor Center, the Kilauea Iki Overlook, and a stretch of the Crater Rim Trail between Volcano House and the Kilauea Military Camp, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Saturday.
“I think some of our most popular areas and most-driven roads will be open again,” said Ben Hayes, the park’s director of interpretation.
Crater Rim Drive up to the steam vents, Chain of Craters Road, Mauna Loa Road and sections of Escape Road are also expected to open.
Several roads are still being examined because of the instability caused by the volcano’s seismic activity. Facilities and trails near the crater’s rim are of significant concern and might never reopen, Hayes said.
“A lot of these holes are still expanding, even without the quakes,” Hayes said. “We’ve had to fill some holes six or seven times.”
Inspections have been conducted on 32 buildings with water restored to nine, according to the park. A National Park Service geomorphologist has conducted reviews on 20 miles (16 miles) of trail.
Additional repairs and openings might not occur until next year, Hayes said. The park will prioritize repairs based on cost and popularity, leaving less visited locations on the back burner.
“We’d rather close some parts of the park so we can make repairs than close the entire park again,” Hayes said.
Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/