State officials said the popular Pohoiki Boat Ramp in Puna showed no damage and could possibly be used again, but the entrance is blocked off and surrounded by about 14,000 cubic yards of black sand.
“We have a lot more analysis to do, but it appears, based on our initial assessment, that we could actually remove the black sand and re-create the entrance to the boat ramp,” said Finn McCall, a state engineer who measured the new, crescent-shaped black sand beach. “The reopening of the Pohoiki Boat Ramp would be dependent on road access being restored, support from the local community, the securing of necessary permits, and most importantly – funding.”
The Pohoiki Boat Ramp area is a popular area, not only for boats, but for swimmers, surfers and other water enthusiasts who enjoyed the small bay leading up to the ramp. Prior to the latest eruption, four companies had permits to operate lava ocean tours from the ramp.
Hawaii island Mayor Harry Kim said the county was working closely with the state on plans to reopen the road and Isaac Hale Beach Park. At this time, however, there is no budget or time frame of when that will happen.
In case Pohoiki can not be resurrected, state officials are looking for other potential small boat ramp sites along the Lower Puna coastline, and believe there may be a few options.
Meanwhile, at MacKenzie State Recreation Area, which reopened earlier this month, visitors are now able to witness a brand new pair of sparkling, black sand beaches.
One is directly below the parking lot and requires careful navigation down the cliff face.
The public is warned to use caution when visiting the area due to underlying dangers, particularly the powerful undertow at the beaches that can sweep swimmers and boogie boarders out to sea. Visitors are also advised to watch out for sharp lava, pockets of unstable ground and the possibility of continuing volcanic gas emissions.
At the northern boundary, the edge of a newly formed lava flow within a restricted access zone, is just within a few-minutes walk.
“We’re very pleased to now reopen MacKenzie,” said State Parks administrator Curt Cottrell in a news release. “It is critically important to enable shoreline access for our local community. As always, we request that people demonstrate responsible behavior and use judgment and common sense when venturing into any areas impacted by the Lower East Rift Zone eruption and avoid promoting excursions on social media – as it only increases the appetite for others often less skilled to follow.”