Wednesday | December 07, 2016
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Explore and protect Kahuku

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its Kahuku Unit by offering free programs to introduce visitors and residents to the park’s southernmost section from April through June.

For all activities below, enter Kahuku on the mauka (uphill) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Sturdy footwear, water, rain gear, and a snack are recommended. No advance registration is required for most events, except for the Ka‘u ‘Ohana Day, when registration is required.

— “People and Land of Kahuku” is a moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields, and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands – from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped, and restored this land. This guided hike will be offered Sundays, April 14 and 21, May 5 and 19 and June 2, and Saturdays, June 8 and 29, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

— “Palm Trail” is a relatively easy 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail will be offered Saturday, April 20, and Sunday, April 28; Sunday, May 26; Saturday, June 15, and Sunday, June 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

— New to the Kahuku Unit treks is one in the Mauna Loa Southwest Rift Zone. Take a short, guided hike to an overlook located on the Upper Palm Trail.

From the overlook, park rangers will orient visitors to numerous prominent geologic features of the many eruptions of the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. Learn about the fascinating natural processes that create these features and the cultural traditions associated with them. Pack a lunch to enjoy during the program.

This new Mauna Loa Southwest Rift Zone program will be offered Saturday, April 27, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

— Another new activity will be “Ohia Lehua” on Mother’s Day. Learn about the vital role of ohia lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the ohia tree, and the lehua flower. Visitors traveling through the park will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent tree in the Kahuku Unit. Pack a lunch to enjoy during the program. The new program debuts on Mother’s Day, May 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

— On Ka‘u ‘Ohana Day, keiki of all ages are invited to join park rangers and explore Palm Trail by GPS and compass in the park’s southernmost section of Kahuku. At least one adult family member or adult group leader must accompany the children.

Enjoy a free lunch, and participate in cultural craft demonstrations. Bring a refillable water bottle and sturdy hiking shoes. The event is free, but registration is required, call 985-6019. This event will be offered Saturday, May 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

— “Lunch with a Ranger” on Father’s Day. Bring a bag lunch and join a park ranger on June 16, Father’s Day, from 10:30 12:30 p.m. Over lunch, a ranger will guide an open discussion on park resources ranging from significant geological events and features of Mauna Loa, and the natural and cultural history of the Kahuku Unit.


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