(BIVN) – The eruption of Kilauea volcano continues, with all activity confined to the summit area within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
The National Park Service expects to see another busy holiday season at the park, and is already offering some tips so visitors can avoid a congested experience. From the NPS:
It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but when parking lots are full, roads are temporarily closed due to congestion and visitors bump into each other on trails and overlooks, the holiday spirit can take a dive. This season, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park helps you plan like a park ranger with five insightful tips to help you navigate the festive season:
1) Be flexible. Have a Plan B and even a Plan C. The eruption at the summit of Kīlauea is showing no signs of taking time off for the holidays. If you come during peak times, expect parking lots to be full and for temporary road closures when parking lots at Devastation Trail and Puʻupuaʻi overflow with vehicles backed up onto roadways. Avoid the peak times of sunrise and sunset and come at an unconventional time, like 4 a.m., or after 8 p.m. If there is no parking, visit another area in the park and try again later. Your park is open 24 hours a day
2) Plan ahead. Explore the park website, nps.gov/hawaiivolcanoes well before you arrive. It’s like a stocking stuffed with your favorite things: what to bring, information on uncrowded park areas away from the eruption site, directions, how to dress and more. It’s there to help you prepare.
3) Download the free app. The NPS has a free app with tools to explore more than 400 national parks across the country, and the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes app is as sweet as a candy cane. Self-guided tours, alerts and other valuable information is like having a ranger in your pocket. You can even send a postcard without a stamp right from your phone! Download the app in the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.
4) Be respectful. Kīlauea and Mauna Loa are cherished by many people, including kānaka maʻoli (Native Hawaiians). Consider others before you take photos, and use your indoor voice when sharing overlooks with others. Listen for rumbling lava, the singing forest birds and the wind through the trees.
5) Stay safe and recreate responsibly. Erupting volcanoes can be dangerous and activity can change at any time. Volcanic gas, sinkholes, steep unstable cliff edges and earth cracks all present hazards. Stay on trail and do not enter closed areas. Maintain social distance of six feet from others and wear a mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you are sick, visit another day. Masks are required in all park buildings and several overlooks.
With a little planning and plenty of flexibility, the first-time visitor or the long-time resident can have a memorable visit to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park this holiday season. Please recreate responsibly, respect wildlife and each other, and wear a mask when in crowded outdoor areas where social distancing cannot be maintained.