|Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park|
|Location||Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States|
|Area||323,431 acres (1,308.88 km2)|
|Established||August 1, 1916|
|Visitors||1,116,891 (in 2018)|
|Governing body||National Park Service|
|Inscription||1987 (11th Session)|
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, established on August 1, 1916, is an American national park located in the U.S. state of Hawaii on the island of Hawaii. The park encompasses two active volcanoes: K?lauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world's most massive shield volcano. The park provides scientists with insight into the birth and development of the Hawaiian Islands, and ongoing studies into the processes of volcanism. For visitors, the park offers dramatic volcanic landscapes, as well as glimpses of rare flora and fauna.
In recognition of its outstanding natural values, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park was designated as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and a World Heritage Site in 1987. In 2012, the park was depicted on the 14th quarter of the America the Beautiful Quarters series.
On May 11, 2018, the park was closed to the public in the K?lauea volcano summit area, including the visitor center and park headquarters, due to explosions and toxic ash clouds from the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, as well as earthquakes and road damage. Portions of the park, including the visitor center, reopened to the public on September 22, 2018. As of 2019 , most of the park is open; however, some road segments and trails, the Thurston Lava Tube, and the Jaggar Museum of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory remain closed to visitors.
Eruptive activity, ground collapses and explosions in the park ceased in early August of 2018, and the lull in eruptive activity at K?lauea continues.
The park includes 323,431 acres (505.36 sq mi; 1,308.88 km2) of land. Over half of the park is designated the Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness area, providing solitude for hiking and camping. The park encompasses diverse environments from sea level to the summit of the Earth's most massive active volcano, Mauna Loa, at 13,679 feet (4,169 m). Climates range from lush tropical rain forests, to the arid and barren Kaʻ? Desert.
The main entrance to the park is from the Hawaii Belt Road. The Chain of Craters Road leads to the coast, passing several craters from historic eruptions. The road had continued to another park entrance near the town of Kalapana, but that portion is covered by a lava flow.
In 1790, a party of warriors, along with women and children who were in the area, were caught in an unusually violent eruption. Many were killed and others left footprints in the lava that are still visible.
A spectacle, sublime and even appalling, presented itself before us. 'We stopped and trembled.' Astonishment and awe for some moments rendered us mute, and, like statues, we stood fixed to the spot, with our eyes riveted on the abyss below.
The volcano became a tourist attraction in the 1840s, and local businessmen such as Benjamin Pitman and George Lycurgus ran a series of hotels at the rim.Volcano House is the only hotel or restaurant located within the borders of the national park.
Lorrin A. Thurston, grandson of the American missionary Asa Thurston, was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the park after investing in the hotel from 1891 to 1904. William R. Castle first proposed the idea in 1903. Thurston, who then owned The Honolulu Advertiser newspaper, printed editorials in favor of the park idea. In 1907, the territory of Hawaii paid for fifty members of Congress and their wives to visit Haleakal? and K?lauea, including a dinner cooked over lava steam vents. In 1908, Thurston entertained Secretary of the Interior James Rudolph Garfield, and another congressional delegation the following year. Governor Walter F. Frear proposed a draft bill in 1911 to create Kilauea National Park for $50,000. Thurston and local landowner William Herbert Shipman proposed boundaries, but ran into some opposition from ranchers. Thurston printed endorsements from John Muir, Henry Cabot Lodge, and former President Theodore Roosevelt. After several attempts, the legislation introduced by delegate Jonah K?hi? Kalanianaʻole finally passed to create the park. House Resolution 9525 was signed by Woodrow Wilson on August 1, 1916. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park became the eleventh national park in the United States, and the first in a territory.
Within a few weeks, the National Park Service Organic Act created the National Park Service to run the system. Originally called Hawaii National Park, the park was officially renamed Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park after being split from Haleakal? National Park on September 22, 1961.
An easily accessible lava tube was named for the Thurston family. An undeveloped stretch of the Thurston Lava Tube extends an additional 1,100 ft (340 m) beyond the developed area and dead-ends into the hillside, but it is closed to the general public.
In 2004, an additional 115,788 acres (468.58 km2) of the Kahuku Ranch were added to the park, the largest land acquisition in Hawaii's history. The park was enlarged by 56% with the newly acquired land, which is west of the town of Waiʻ?hinu and east of Ocean View. The land was purchased for $21.9 million from the estate of Samuel Mills Damon, with financing from The Nature Conservancy.
Several of the National Register of Historic Places listings on the island of Hawaii are located within the park:
The main visitor center, located just within the park entrance at Volcano Art Center, located in the original 1877 Volcano House hotel, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and houses historical displays and an art gallery., includes displays and information about the features of the park. The nearby
The Thomas A. Jaggar Museum, located a few miles west on Crater Rim Drive, features more exhibits and a close view of K?lauea's active vent Halemaʻumaʻu. The museum is named after scientist Thomas Jaggar, the first director of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, which adjoins the museum. The observatory itself is operated by the U.S. Geological Survey and is not open to the public.
About 1929, D. Howard Hitchcock made an oil painting of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes. In 1966, the artist's son, Harvey, donated the painting to the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, where it was displayed in the visitor center from 1966 to 2005. The painting was criticized for portraying the Hawaiian goddess as a Caucasian.
In 2003, the Volcano Art Center announced a competition for a "more modern and culturally authentic rendering" of the goddess. An anonymous judging panel of Native Hawaiian elders selected a painting by Arthur Johnsen of Puna, Hawaii from 140 entries. In Johnsen's painting, the goddess has distinctly Polynesian features. She is holding a digging stick (ʻ?ʻ?) in her left hand and the egg that gave birth to her younger sister Hiʻiaka in her right hand. In 2005, the Hitchcock was replaced with Johnsen's painting.
On March 19, 2008, there was a small explosion in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, the first explosive event since 1924 and the first eruption in the K?lauea caldera since September 1982. Debris from the explosion was scattered over an area of 74 acres (300,000 m2). A small amount of ash was also reported at a nearby community. The explosion covered part of Crater Rim Drive and damaged Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook. The explosion did not release any lava, which suggests to scientists that it was driven by hydrothermal or gas sources.
This explosion event followed the opening of a major sulfur dioxide gas vent, greatly increasing levels emitted from Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The dangerous increase of sulfur dioxide gas prompted closures of Crater Rim Drive between the Jaggar Museum south/southeast to Chain of Craters Road, Crater Rim Trail from K?lauea Military Camp south/southeast to Chain of Craters Road, and all trails leading to Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, including those from Byron Ledge, ʻIliahi (Sandalwood) Trail, and Kaʻ? Desert Trail.
In mid-May 2018, the park was closed due to explosive eruptions at Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. As of May 31, the K?lauea area of the park had remained closed, making the closure the longest in the park's history. Portions of the park, including the visitor center, reopened to the public on September 22, 2018. As of 2019 , most of the park is open; however, some road segments and trails, the Thurston Lava Tube, and the Jaggar Museum of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory remain closed to visitors.
Eruptive activity, ground collapses and explosions in the park ceased in early August, and the lull in eruptive activity at K?lauea continues. At the summit, seismicity and deformation are negligible. Sulfur dioxide emission rates at both the summit and the Lower East Rift Zone are drastically reduced; the combined rate is lower than at any time since late 2007. Earthquake and deformation data show no net accumulation, withdrawal, or significant movement of subsurface magma or pressurization as would be expected if the system was building toward a resumption of activity.
Media related to Hawai?i Volcanoes National Park at Wikimedia Commons (image gallery)