(BIVN) – Volcano Village and the surrounding community is looking towards the future, following the dramatic events at the summit of Kīlauea this past summer.
Residents and business owners gathered at the Cooper Center for a public forum on January 24. Hawaiʻi County Councilmembers Maile David and Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder were in attendance, as were members of the county administration.
A media release was issued by representatives of the non-profit Experience Volcano before the event, which stated:
Volcano and its businesses are recovering from the recent eruption, its accompanying earthquakes and its devastating effects on the local tourism industry. We’re very proud of the low-impact model that we’ve evolved as a gateway community, serving thousands of national park visitors annually by integrating restaurants, galleries and lodging into the community and its upland rainforest environment, rather than isolating them in a “resort Node.” The community needs to keep that model and build on it, but faces upcoming hurdles as the park rebuilds it infrastructure. New state and country regulations such as County Council Bill 108 makes its way through the pipeline threatening vacation rentals on which Volcano has built its success. Many folks in our community may be confused about how these changes may affect all of us.
Experience Volcano is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization of Volcano-area businesses and community members dedicated to sharing the Village’s special brand of aloha with the world. The group’s mission includes promoting the Volcano area in a sustainable way through social media platforms, print media, and media tours. Since it was started last May, EV has printed and distributed 5,000 brochures promoting the area as a destination and has helped Volcano businesses to develop a unified voice and to pursue common goals.
“I have appealed to the Department of Transportation” for a Welcome to Volcano sign, said Michael Nelson, executive director of the Volcano Art Center. “The key area that we’re working on right now is just to get the people to know that Volcano is here. We’re a great, thriving, artist community. And we have food and beverage, restaurants, hospitality and accommodations.”
“I’d like to see this open up to get all the organizations,” said councilwoman Maile David. “I think this is a good start, to get ideas. For me, being a generational native … my suggestion would be, in addition to the arts focus, that you include some of the native and spiritual community that have so much information about this area.”
“If you’re going to educate people that come here, it’s a lot more than the arts and forest,” David said. “Because the important part about this place, as far as I can remember as a child, was this was a spiritual area.”