(ABOVE VIDEO) Audio from Thursday media conference call with video of the Chain of Craters work courtesy Hawaii County. Aerial footage by Mick Kalber aboard Paradise Helicopters.
Hawaii County Civil Defense and the National Park Service demonstrated today that they are not quite on the same page when it comes to who will be able to use the emergency access route over the Chain of Craters Road, currently being constructed over the lava flow between Kalapana and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Darryl Oliveira, the head of Hawaii County’s emergency response agency, continues to indicate the discussion between the park and the county is ongoing. However, in a media release issued Wednesday night, and again during a media conference call on Thursday, the National Park Service says use of the road will be restricted to residents only, with allowances for family members and clientele of certain businesses. Visitors, says park superintendent Cindy Orlando, will be forbidden. Residents will be given a free window decal for access.
If lava from the June 27 flow crosses Highway 130 and travels all the way to the ocean, the reconstructed Chain of Craters Road will be the only way in and out of Puna. Those who intend to stay to live and do business in Puna are concerned with the park’s proposed rules, saying it will destroy what little is left of the district economy.