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Some of Hawaii’s national parks, attractions reopen

  • COURTESY J. FERRACANE / NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE
    The Mcfarlane family from Scotland were the first visitors to enter the newly reopened Volcanoes National Park today and got to enjoy the view of Halemaumau Crater from Steaming Bluffs before their flight back home tonight.
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The Big Island’s Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Maui’s Haleakala National Park reopened this morning following a break in 16-day government shutdown, while the USS Arizona Memorial tours will restart Friday.

“We’re thrilled to be open again,” said Haleakala National Park Superintendent Natalie Gates. “We look forward to people enjoying and exploring the park again and we thank our visitors, communities, and commercial service providers for their continued patience over the past two weeks.”

Reporting back to work early this morning on Maui was Haleakala’s 85 furloughed workers.

Haleakala’s campgrounds were to re-open this afternoon after the grass has been mowed.

The 129 Big Island national park workers who were furloughed were back at their jobs at 6 a.m. this morning. Also reopened this morning was the volcano park’s Jagger Museum, which resumed normal operations from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The visitor center’s hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Volcanoes National Park attracts 4,500 visitors a day.

Eileen Martinez, spokeswoman for the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, which operates the Arizona visitor site, said “we are hard at work today getting everything working.”

She said the Arizona Memorial’s visitor center will reopen Friday at 7 a.m. with the first tour boats leaving from the visitor center to the memorial at Ford Island at 8 a.m. The last boat tour will leave at 3 p.m. The visitor center will close at 5 p.m.

The Arizona Memorial is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state, with about 1.5 million visitors annually.

On the mainland, National Park sites reopening today were Gettysburg National Park in Pennsylvania, the Smithsonian Institution’s network of popular museums, and the World War II memorial in Washington, which had been the scene of protests over the shutdown.

National parks across the United States closed Oct. 1 as part of the partial federal shutdown when Congress failed to pass a budget bill for the new fiscal year.

“We are all eager and excited to reopen and welcome visitors back to the park,” said Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

All of the Big Island park’s roads, scenic overlooks, Thurston Lava Tube, steam vents, trails and park camp grounds are available.

However, a section of Big Island’s Crater Rim Drive remains closed due to volcanic fumes. The section was closed in 2008 due to the fumes.

Also today, Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge officials said the refuge, which includes the Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse, will re-open at 10:00 a.m. Friday.

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