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Earth Day at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park


Kipukapuaulu circa 1930 (Photo courtesy of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park)

Kipukapuaulu circa 1930 (Photo courtesy of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park)


Two programs celebrate Earth Day in the Kipuka of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Pre-registration for both programs is required.

— Help restore the native forest and learn the history of kipuka along Mauna Loa Road – 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Wednesday, April 22

The public is invited to join park botanist Sierra McDaniel for a tour of the upland forest along Mauna Loa Road. There will also be an opportunity to lend a hand in on-going efforts to restore the native forest.

Once dominated by ohia-koa forest, the native vegetation along the Mauna Loa Road was decimated by logging and grazing by introduced cattle, goats and pigs. 

After the animals were fenced out, native plant recovery has varied — some areas remain persistent pasture while others are becoming biologically-rich secondary forest.

McDaniel will share the 80-year history of forest restoration in the area and explain the park’s current strategies. Participants will also plant native seedlings of maile and alaalawainui in a restoration site adjacent to Kipukapuaulu.

“This is a great opportunity to enjoy your national park, see forest recovery, and be part of an exciting project,” McDaniel said.

Participants should be able to hike over uneven terrain; wear sturdy shoes, long pants, sunscreen, and a hat; and bring lunch, water, and rainjacket.

Pre-registration is required. 

Call McDaniel at 985-6097 and leave a message that includes a contact name and phone number.

— Hike through a kipuka of rare and ancient plants in Kahuku Unit – 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 22

Join park rangers Dean Gallagher and Adrian Boone at the park’s Kahuku Unit for a hike through Kipukaakihi.

The kipuka is an isolated refuge of rare plants in a remnant old growth forest — a window into the past and a vision for forest restoration efforts in the future.

The hike through the kipuka is a challenging 1.5 miles. Participants should be ready to scramble over fallen trees, rough lava rock, and slippery wet terrain. There will be opportunities to help protect this rain forest by removing invasive, non-native, weeds.

Sturdy hiking shoes are a must. The weather can be sunny, cool, or rainy. Wear long pants, sunscreen, and a hat and bring rain gear, insect repellent, lunch, and adequate water for a three hour hike.

Due to the fragile nature of the kipuka, the program is limited to twenty people and pre-registration is required. 

Call to sign up at (808) 985-6011.

Those registered for the program will meet at Kahuku’s entrance gate located off Highway 11, near mile marker 70. The gate will only be open from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on the day of the hike.

Anyone joining either tour is asked to thoroughly check and clean their vehicles before coming to the park to make sure they are not transporting coqui frogs and non-native plant seeds.

— Find out more:

Earth Day:

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park:


Kipukapuaulu today (Photo courtesy of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park)

Kipukapuaulu today (Photo courtesy of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park)

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