The private money that’s keeping Hawaii’s national parks open is running out

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
Published: Jan. 5, 2019 at 10:29 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the government shutdown drags on, supporters of Hawaii’s national parks are scrambling to keep the attractions open — and welcoming to visitors.

Both Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Pacific Historic Parks are only open now because of non-profit support.

And there’s no real plan after that money runs out.

On Friday, visitors were entering Hawaii Volcanoes National park without paying.

Park rangers are working without pay.

Non-profit groups have been propping up the Big Island landmark. Hawaii County also stepped in and agreed to fund the park in a limited capacity until Wednesday.

“And then after the ninth, I’m not sure," said Elizabeth Fien, executive director of the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. “I’m just gonna keep (going). The friends are tenacious, we’ll just keep looking for donations.”

On Oahu, four non-profit partners and the Hawaii Tourism Authority found the money to keep the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument open until Jan. 11.

“We are very very grateful for their efforts. We could not have done this without them,” said Aileen Utterdyke, president and CEO Pacific Historic Parks.

For the people who work to maintain, promote, and care for these sites, it’s not about the money.

“This is hallowed ground," Utterdyke said. "This is a memorial and we believe that for the veterans and families and anybody who wants to come see it. Memorials like this should stay open.”

To help Pacific Historic Parks, click here.

For information on supporting the Friends of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, click here.

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