Free entrance to National Parks on National Public Lands Day

  • Sheldon and Claire Furupani take photos and look at the Halema'uma'u Crater from the Kilauea Overlook Aug. 25 at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park invites the public to participate in National Public Lands Day this year by doing something good for the aina (land), and to take advantage of a fee-free day on Saturday.

All federal fee-charging lands in the U.S. are free of charge, including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Puuhonua O Honaunau on Hawaii Island.

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Most years, the park organizes a Stewardship at the Summit event on National Public Lands Day (NPLD), attracting volunteers from all over the island who come and help remove invasive plants from the native rainforest. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the park is encouraging people to do something good for the land on their own to honor NPLD while maintaining social distancing.

“When it comes to malama aina, taking care of the land, it’s everyone’s kuleana, everyone’s responsibility,” said Hawaii Volcanoes National Park community volunteer ambassador Moses Espaniola. “It’s also everyone’s kuleana to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, so we came up with three ways you can help the land stay healthy, and help each other stay healthy.”

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A new park video created by Espaniola, offers three activities to connect with nature while protecting it: Remove an invasive plant from your property, and replace it with a native plant; pick up opala (rubbish) from a beach, park or other public land; or write a haiku about your favorite public land.

The park encourages people to post a photo or video of themselves engaged in the activity to their personal social media account, and tag @hawaiivolcanoesnps between Sept. 26 and 30. Haiku writers are encouraged to read their haiku on video. The park will share the most inspiring posts to its Facebook and Instagram accounts.

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