Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to host ‘talk story’ sessions for Big Island residents

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to host ‘talk story’ sessions for Big Island residents

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Saturday marks 100 days since the majority of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park had to close due to Kilauea's volcanic activity, and officials are looking for ways to improve the park.

Next week, there will be two opportunities for residents to share their ideas on the park's future. Officials will hold a "talk story" session at 1 p.m. on Tuesday at Volcano Art Center's Niaulani Campus.

The second session, which will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday, will be at the park's Kahuku Unit.

The planned sessions come after decreased lava activity, with researchers reporting that Kilauea has been showing signs of slowing down this month.

"Before the recent volcanic activity forced us to close the park adjacent to Kilauea, we were grappling with congestion management issues," said Cindy Orlando, the park's superintendent.

"Do we want to return to that, or do we press the reset button? We want to hear from our communities," Orlando said.

There hasn't been a collapse event at Halemaumau crater in recent weeks. And on Friday, scientists downgraded the alert from a warning to a watch.

Officials say it's still too early to tell if the current eruption has stopped, or simply paused.

"The science informs the decisions we make," Orlando said. "We have entered the phase of managing the park as if the hazards could return at any time, while maintaining hope that the lull in activity lasts so we can continue the momentum towards eventual reopening," she said.

"We are actively considering and making short-term repairs to safely reopen at least part of the park."

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