Volcanoes National Park officials say it’ll be a while until the park reopens


A lava flow moves on Makamae Street in Leilani Estates Sunday morning

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Hawaii (KITV) – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been closed for nearly 100 days due to unsafe conditions from seismic and explosive activity from the summit of Kilauea but there’s no telling when the park will reopen.

It’s going to be a long and most likely expensive one according to national park officials.

They took local media to look at park roads, buildings and Halemaumau crater to show why.

“The last 100 days have been grueling,” Jessica Ferracane, National Park Service said.

All 130 staff members at the park still have jobs, some are working on clean up and recovery at the Hawaii Island Park, others transferred to national parks on neighbor islands. But the closure of this park continues to take its toll on staff and the surrounding community.

“We well know the tremendous financial impact the closure of the park has had on tour operators and hotels, etc. We don’t want the park to be closed, we can’t wait for it to be open. But we can’t open it until it’s safe,” Ferracane said.

The park loses $450,000 every day it’s closed. Park officials want to get cranking on reopening.

“We’re using the science to inform our decision making process, it’s a really good start today to hear that the alert level has been downgraded for lack of a better word,” Ferracane said.

Reopening would mean roads need repairing and structures need to be sound. It all depends on safety and if there is any more movement.

Halemaumau Crater was only a couple hundred feet deep, now, it’s close to 1,500 ft. down and it’s still crumbling.

“Even though the activity is over. There’s still a lot of settling here at the summit. Things are still beginning to develop,” Ferracane said.

Some of that settling compromised the security of the Jagger Museum. Park officials say it’s right on the edge of the crater.

The other popular attraction that needs more attention: the Thurston tunnels.

The park says they need to get a team in to evaluate just how safe it’d be to allow tourists back in.

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