Big Island in contract to buy land swallowed by lava flows

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - Lava flows have largely swallowed a $2.7 million land parcel the Big Island government planned to buy to use as a buffer between development and the Waiopae tide pools.

West Hawaii Today reports about two-thirds of the 284-acre (115-hectare) property in the Vacationland community has been inundated, including the tide pools, following the Kilauea volcano eruption.

Hawaii County Property Manager Hamana Ventura says the county hasn't received notice from the state to proceed with the purchase. The state Legacy Land conservation program had committed $1.3 million for the deal. The parcel is currently in escrow.

The county council approved the purchase in 2013 and negotiations began in 2014.

Ventura says the property still has value and it could serve an educational purpose for scientists and students studying lava flows.

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