Last week Friday, Congress and POTUS failed to meet the funding deadline, which lead to yet another shutdown. So let take a look at the partial government shutdown effects in Hawaii.
Hawaii has three major National Parks on Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island. And all of these parks have the potential to be impacted by the latest government shutdown.
Pearl Harbor Historic Sites
The Pearl Harbor Historic sites, which includes the USS Bowfin Museum, the USS Missouri Museum, and the Pacific Aviation Museum, is seeing the least impact from the shutdown. The reason for this is because the non-profit organization, Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, operates much of the attractions. As a result, they are continuing to provide financial support to the National Park Services to keep the sites open.
For those wishing to view the memorials within the harbor, there’s more good news as well. The U.S. Navy operates the shuttle boats that tour the harbor, and so the service is not being affected by the shutdown either. However, the USS Arizona Memorial continues to remain closed for emergency repair work.
Haleakala National Park
- Summit District roads and trails
- Hosmer Grove Campground
- Kipahulu Campground
- Kipahulu District roads and trails
Even though the park is open, it’s worth noting that emergency services are limited. As such, those visiting the Park need to be extra careful, especially since it is a high-elevation, low-oxygen environment. Current conditions information on the Park’s website also won’t be updated during the shutdown. Specific closures at Haleakala include:
- all Visitor Centers (including restrooms)
- backcountry cabins, even if you have existing reservations; request refunds at recreations.gov
- Pools of Oheo in the Park’s Kipahulu District
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The situation at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is similar to that of Haleakala National Park. So, the good news is that the park is still open. Specifically, these sites remain open at Volcanoes National Park:
- Kilauea Visitor Center, picnic tables, and restrooms. The exhibits and the Hawaii Pacific Parks Association store are open too. Films at the Visitor Center, however, are not being shown
- Crater Rim Drive from the Park entrance to Kilauea Military Camp
- Crater Rim Trail between the Volcano House and Kilauea Military Camp
- Volcano House lodging, gift shop, and restaurant
- Kilauea Camp and Theater
- Volcano Art Center Gallery
- Steam Vents and Sulfur Banks
- Mauna Loa Road to Kipukapuaulu (vehicles not permitted past the gate at Kipukapuaulu); Mauna Loa Road to Mauna Loa Lookout – pedestrians and bicyclists only
- Kipukapuaulu day-use picnic area (no trash or custodial services or – pack it in, pack it out only); Kipukapuaulu and trail
- Kau Desert Trail to the Footprints shelter and exhibit
So, basically, most of the summit area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open. Pretty much everything else at the park, though, is not available, including:
- Chain of Craters Road
- The Escape Road
- All campgrounds and backcountry areas
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Kahuku Unit
While you can still visit the summit areas of the Park, it’s disappointing that the Chain of Craters Road isn’t accessible. That mean’s a large portion of the Park can’t be seen, including the Holei Sea Arch, Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs, etc.
Partial Government Shutdown Effects in Hawaii, Final Thoughts
It’s unfortunate that the Partial Government Shutdown is impacting our National Parks and even more unfortunate that it’s affecting the livelihood of Federal employees. But, the silver lining to this all is that Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Haleakala National Park aren’t charging entry fees during the shutdown. I mean, it makes sense since big chunks of these parks aren’t available right now, but still. Hopefully the shutdown won’t last too long, though I’m sure the earliest it’ll end is on January 3rd.