Hawaii Volcanoes National Park reports ‘on par’ visitation
HILO, Hawaii (AP) — About 2,000 people have visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park each day since it partially reopened last month, park officials said.
Park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane said the visitation last month was “about on par” with September 2017, a typically slower month for tourism on the Big Island, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Tuesday.
The park reopened Sept. 22 after it closed in May because of the Kilauea volcano eruption and resulting seismic activity. Since reopening, the number of visitors has remained consistent, with boosts on days cruise ships visit the Big Island, Ferracane said.
Most of the park trails are back in operation, except the Ka’u Desert Trail and the Kilauea Iki Trail that were damaged by seismic activity.
“Still, we’re expecting big numbers when the winter season picks back up,” Ferracane said.
Since the day after reopening, park authorities have not cited any more people for attempting to enter restricted areas of the park, Ferracane said. Three people were cited last month when they tried to reach the closed Jaggar Museum.
Park authorities have recently made two rescues on backcountry trails. A hiker became disoriented Monday in the overgrown foliage on the park’s Keauhou Trail, and another visitor was rescued last week after becoming lost at Pu’u Huluhulu. Both hikers were found quickly, Ferracane said.
Tourism on the island appears to be better than it has been in recent months though the September visitor numbers have not yet been released, said Ross Birch, president of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau.
“If we can meet the numbers from September of last year . which was about 120,000, then I would consider that a huge success,” Birch said.
Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/