Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park
Here within the more than 330,000 vast acres of designated parklands you can find two of the world’s most active volcanoes—Mauna Loa and Kīlauea—as well as tiny nananana makakiʻi (happyface spiders), carnivorous caterpillars, exquisite ʻapapane (an endemic honeycreeper), towering hapuʻu fern forests, and the nesting beaches of critically endangered honu ʻea (Hawksbill sea turtles). Many of the park’s species are listed as rare, protected or endangered. Kīlauea volcano has been erupting nearly continuously since 1983, affording the opportunity to witness the creation of the newest land on earth. KIlauea’s summit area is reachable by car. The Kīlauea Visitor Center just inside the park entrance is open every day, offering interpretive programs, museum exhibits, a park film, reference materials, and guided walks.
Cultural sites, representing five centuries of habitation by Native Hawaiians, are also special features of the park. Some of those features are historic foot trails, petroglyph fields, once-inhabited lava tube caves, and even the preserved footsteps of doomed innocents caught in a deadly ash fall in the late 1700s. Coastal fishing villages once dotted the hot, dry coastline. Their ruins can still be seen along the coastal trails between remote campgrounds. The summit of Kīlauea is still visited by hula hālau (schools) who come to pay tribute to Pele, the volcano deity in residence at Halemaʻumʻau crater.
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park gained World Heritage Site Designation in 1987.