Local Connection: Pahoa’s Recovery

Local Connection: Pahoa's Recovery

The eruption that forever changed Pahoa seems to be over.

The county is allowing residents to return to evacuated parts of Leilani estates, the mayor is talking about restoring access to Isaac Hale Beach Park and the National Park may be back in business soon as well.

But it won't be business as usual for a long time.

Obviously there is much to be done and difficult decisions ahead about the future of the area and what to do about the people who lost homes and property.

Even those who are now returning home have to wonder if things will ever be normal again. After all, their peaceful lush and private world is already becoming a tourist attraction.

Residents there are properly outraged at strangers wandering through their yards and helicopter tours destroying the quiet they've cherished and which brought them to Puna in the first place.

Officials need to be conscious of the need to support residents with security and reasonable regulation of visitor access and flyovers – even as the business community is anxious to get the tourists back.

After all – those residents were there first, Pele's path was beyond their control, and they have certainly been through enough.

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