HONOLULU (KHON2) — After a 9-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, Diamond Head State Monument is scheduled to reopen Thursday, Dec. 17.
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During the closure, several maintenance projects were completed including the painting of the fire control station and the stairs along the trail to the summit, says the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks.
“Visitors will experience significant changes, such as a new traffic control system at the Kahala Tunnel with single lane traffic regulated by traffic lights, providing more space to accommodate pedestrian access,” said DLNR’s Division of State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. “There are also slight changes to the hiking experience to the top of Diamond Head due to COVID-19 protocols.”
Those changes include limited parking availability to prevent large crowds, possible wait times for walk-in visitors and social distancing measures.
DLNR says it will also keep the park closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays as a result of limited staffing and to conduct additional maintenance and upkeep. Diamond Head will also be closed on the Christmas and New Years Day.
The Division of State Parks, which lost nearly $1-million dollars of revenue from the extended closure of Diamond Head, says an increase in fees for non-residents will also be part of the changes made. Hawaii residents will be able to park and enter Diamond Head State Monument for free.
“We’ll be monitoring visitor behavior carefully to determine how to optimize their experiences, to balance safety with the economic necessity of adequate patronage to offset the cost of our partner’s staffing at the entry station, and most importantly to keep everyone safe and healthy as they enjoy Oahu’s 300,000-year-old National Natural Landmark,” Cottrell said.
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