Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park Just Expanded by More Than 16,000 Acres

NPS Photo / S.Roper-Todd

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Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI 96718, USA
Phone +1 808-985-6000

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, which encompasses the world's two most active volcanoes, has given outdoor adventurers one more reason to visit. Last week, the park expanded to include Pōhue Bay, a 16,451-acre addition that brings the park's total size to 554 square miles.

The National Park Service (NPS) had been given ownership and stewardship of Pōhue Bay by Trust for Public Land (TPL), which wanted to ensure that Pōhue Bay's "native ecosystems and cultural traditions would be well cared for and preserved." TPL had previously purchased the land for $9.4 million in a major feat for conservation; according to NPS, the area "has been the subject of several resort development proposals."

"Aloha ʻāina begins with our commitment to preserving our islands' precious natural and cultural systems," Lea Hong, associate vice president and Hawaiian Islands state director for TPL, said in a statement. "We are grateful the National Park Service will steward the area with the support of the community, ensuring the history, culture, and natural beauty of this place are protected for future generations."

According to NPS, on Pōhue Bay, which runs from Māmalahoa Highway to the shoreline, visitors will find "well-preserved and significant Hawaiian cultural sites," such as lava tubes, fishing shrines, a burial site, petroglyphs, mauka-makai (mountain-to-sea) trails, and Hawai'i's largest-recorded abrader quarry.

Meanwhile, endangered Hawaiian wildlife—including the Hawaiian hawksbill turtle and Hawaiian monk seal—calls the Pōhue coastline home, and native and migratory birds like koaʻe kea (white-tailed tropic bird) and ʻaukuʻu (black-crowned night heron) have also been spotted.

For the time being, the NPS is restricting public access while it finalizes an interim operating plan. "Pōhue is an incredibly precious and culturally significant landscape that needs to be protected. We are actively seeking community feedback to get a better understanding of the natural and cultural resources in the area," said Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park superintendent Rhonda Loh in a statement.

The rest of the national park is open; however, digital passes are available for purchase through Recreation.gov up to six months in advance of your visit.

Article Sources
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  1. National Park Service. "Pōhue Bay Preserved From Mauka to Makai." July 12, 2022.

  2. National Park Service. "Pōhue Bay Preserved From Mauka to Makai." July 12, 2022.

  3. National Park Service. "Hawai'i Volcanoes." Accessed July 20, 2022.

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Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park Just Expanded by More Than 16,000 Acres