(BIVN) – Isaac Hale Beach Park, also known as Pohoiki Beach Park, will reopen to the public on Thursday, December 6th.
The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation says there will first be a blessing ceremony, which the public is also invited to attend.
The new emergency access roadway to Pohoiki, which goes over the lava flow that covered Highway 137 near MacKenzie State Park, will open to the public at noon, one hour before the blessing. The emergency access will remain open from that date forward, until further notice, the County says. The Department of Public Works advises drivers to “use caution and be alert while driving on the emergency roadway.”
“This new park created is dedicated as a safe and peaceful place for our families,” a County news release stated. “Please kōkua to keep it a nice and safe place for the ‘ohana.”
The County also shared this relevant information about Isaac Hale Beach Park:
- There will be a 24-hour security presence.
- New park hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- There will be no camping until further notice.
- The park will not have an available water source, as lava damaged the county water lines leading to the park. Park visitors are encouraged to bring plenty of drinking water for hydration.
- Portable toilets will be available for public use until water is restored.
- The lava flow created four Natural Ocean Thermal Ponds. The Department of Health is giving notice that these ponds are not disinfected and, due to the risk of bacterial infections, the public should not enter these ponds if they have open wounds. Enter these ponds at your own risk.
- There is a dangerous shore break on the new black sand beach and dangerous ocean currents which could cause injury. Enter the ocean at your own risk.
“The Department thanks the public for their patience and understanding during the park closure,” the County media release stated. “We have been working diligently to get your park open, and we’re eager for families and visitors to enjoy the ocean and new black sand beach of Isaac Hale Kepo‘okalani Beach Park.”
The opening of the emergency access roadway is not happening fast enough for a few residents living in the kipuka isolated by the recent eruption. “We get to wait in line with our moving vans, trailers and entire households with the rest of the general public which will be invited and going out to go to a big County grand opening party at the beach,” wrote Sara Steiner, a Pohoiki-area resident, in a letter to news media.
“Leilani residents, even those living right next to Fissure 8 got to go go home over a month ago. There is a manned barricade and the residents go back and forth. Puna Geothermal Ventures gets to go back and forth to their property past a manned barricade on Hwy 132. All that Pohoiki residents have gotten is to look at a beautiful new road, finished three weeks ago complete with a locked gate,” Steiner said. “This policy is definitely not Pono, it is purely political and discriminates against certain landowners trying desperately to go home just like the rest of the evacuees were allowed.”
Before the reopening, there will be a siren test at Pohoiki Beach Park on Thursday, November 29, 2018 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
The Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency, together with the Hawaiʻi Civil Defense Agency, will conduct the test, sounding the siren intermittently during that period to test for proper functioning. Residents with concerns about the sirens or their operations, or with reports of siren malfunctions, may contact the Hawaiʻi Civil Defense Agency at (808) 935-0031.