(BIVN) – An area within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is being closed to protect endangered Hawaiian nēnē geese that are breeding and nesting in the area.
The Pu‘u Pua‘i Overlook and parking lot are temporarily closed, the National Park Service says. “The gate is secured at the entrance to the Pu‘u Pua‘i parking lot, near the intersection of Chain of Craters Road and Crater Rim Drive. Visitors are able to hike about 0.4 miles of Devastation Trail from the Devastation Trail parking lot to a trail sign marking the closure,” officials say.
According to the National Park Service:
In 1952, only 30 nēnē remained statewide. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park began efforts to recover the imperiled geese in the 1970s. The Nēnē Recovery Program continues today, and more than 200 birds thrive in the park from sea level to around 8,000 feet.
Pu‘u Pua‘i is a massive reddish-brown cindercone that formed during an eruption at Kīlauea Iki crater in 1959. Evidence of this eruption is visible in the form of small tephra cinders that blanket the ground along Crater Rim Drive towards Keanakāko‘i Crater.
In another news release issued earlier this week, officials announced that Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will be open on Christmas Day (Tues., Dec. 25) and New Year’s Eve (Mon., Dec. 31), but Kīlauea Visitor Center, which opens daily at 9 a.m., will close at 2 p.m. both days.
The Kahuku Unit will be closed both days per its normal operating schedule. Kahuku is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“The park would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, and mahalo nui loa for the public’s support during a very eventful year,” said Acting Superintendent Ben Hayes in the release. “We are all looking forward to welcoming our visitors through the season and opening more areas as we continue recovery efforts in 2019.”