Volcanoes National Park temporarily closes backcountry for overnight use

Coronavirus

HAWAII NATIONAL PARK, Hawaii (KHON2) — Hawaii Volcanoes National Park announced it will be temporarily closing the backcountry area for overnight use on Tuesday, Dec. 22, after a new eruption prompted a surge in visitors.

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The eruption began during the evening of Sunday, Dec. 22, and is currently contained within the Halema’uma’u Crater.

Park officials say rangers have been managing large volumes of traffic and parking overflow in addition to the thousands of people that gathered at the Kilauea Overlook throughout Monday, Dec. 21.

“Safety is our first priority, and the unexpected increase in visitors limits our capacity to manage and respond to incidents in remote backcountry areas of the park.”

Rhonda Loh, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Superintendent

Existing backcountry permits will be canceled and permit-holders will be issued rainchecks. Use of backcountry areas is still allowed during the day and the Kulanaokuaiki Campground remains open on a first-come, first-served basis.

Overnight use of the backcountry will reopen once additional National Park Service staff arrive and can help manage the evolving eruption.

The Park suggests using the less-crowded vantage points of Keanakako’i, Waldron Ledge and Volcano House to view the new eruption.

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