Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park reopened to the public this weekend, welcoming travellers back after the longest closure in the park’s history.
Back in May, the Kīlauea eruption in the park caused unsafe volcanic and seismic conditions that led to a park closure lasting 134 days. The volcanic activity led to large lava flows that destroyed more than 700 home. The summit area of the park was also severely impacted by thousands of earthquakes and 62 massive collapse explosions, according to the National Park Service. Within the park, this caused damage to buildings, rock falls, cracks in roads and trails and more. Restoration work has been underway to get visitors back into the park, and now, the first stage is completed.
WOW 🙌 what a great day! It’s awesome to be back and welcome visitors again. Several thousand of you, in fact! This our last post of the day, our hearts are filled with joy. Your park is now open 24 hours a day! #HVNPWelcomeBack 🎉🇺🇸😍 pic.twitter.com/Fs6x9IZFvz
— Hawaii Volcanoes NPS (@Volcanoes_NPS) September 23, 2018
Visitors are warned that they should anticipate heavy traffic, lines and delays, and less parking – there are one third fewer parking spaces around the summit available after that damage. There are also certain areas that remain closed due to safety concerns, including the Thurston Lava Tube and Jaggar Museum, reports Hawaii News Now. Since there are limited services available, visitors are encouraged to bring food, lots of drinking water and a full tank of gas.
Visitors are also being strongly warned to only travel on open roads and trails – closed trails are marked and travellers should read and follow all the signs and respect the barricades.
“We are thrilled to welcome our public back and share the incredible changes that have taken place,” said park superintendent Cindy Orlando in a statement. “We ask that you stay alert to these profound changes while enjoying your park and its resources.”