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Cleanup begins for Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park after 2018 Kīlauea eruption

National Park Service

Maunaloa and Kīlauea stopped erupting Tuesday, but recovery from the eruption four years ago is just getting started.

Kīlauea's 2018 eruption resulted in major road and structural damage that the National Park Service hopes to fix with its upcoming plan.

The Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park's Disaster Recovery Project hopes to tackle the cleanup, first by renovating the visitor areas and U.S. Geological Survey facilities that were damaged during the eruption and summit collapse.

The park released a Finding of No Significant Impact report on Monday, and after private party and public feedback, they said the plan is moving forward with the exception of reconsideration on where the visitor center will be located.

"It is heartening to see how much passion the community has for their park and the cherished natural and cultural landscapes it protects," said Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Rhonda Loh in a statement on Monday.

The plan prioritizes the following:

  • A roundabout will be added near the entrance of the park on Crater Rim Drive to reduce traffic.
  • The Jaggar Museum and Okamura Building, both negatively impacted during the 2018 summit collapse, will be removed.
  • Workers will restore the summit area's native forest for environmental and cultural conservation.
  • USGS will build a new research station next to the historic ball field in the Kīlauea Military Camp.
Proposed roundabout right after the park entrance at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
National Park Service
Proposed roundabout right after the park entrance at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

The plan received feedback from nearly 300 people — 80% of which were Hawaiʻi residents.

The project will cost $28 million for NPS repairs and $21 million for USGS facilities. The funding comes from the Disaster Relief Act of 2019, U.S. Department of Transportation and nonprofit partners.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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