Enjoy Free Admission to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Its Birthday Week

The National Park Service marks a century.
Big Island National Park
Photo: Aaron Yoshino 


Photo: David Croxford

This Aug. 25, the National Park Service marks its 100th anniversary and is celebrating by offering free admission to all its parks between the 25th and 28th.


In Hawai‘i, the Birthday Weekend coincides with the 36th annual Hawai‘i Volcanoes Cultural Festival & BioBlitz, with a Hawaiian music concert (Aug. 26); hula, music, Hawaiian crafts and field trips led by experts (Aug. 27); and a series of free, ranger-led hikes (Aug. 27) at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (nps.gov/havo).


 When the NPS was first established by Congress in 1916, it oversaw just 14 national parks, including Hawai‘i National Park, which then comprised the summit of Haleakalā volcano on Maui and the Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes on Hawai‘i Island. (The two have since split and are now separate national parks.) Today, NPS manages 59 national parks, as well as more than 300 national monuments, battlefields, preserves, trails and other protected sites.


Hawai‘i boasts eight national parks, five of which are on Hawai‘i Island. (NPS also manages the 175-mile Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail in the Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historic Park on Hawai‘i Island.) More than 5 million people visit the Islands’ parks every year, with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park alone getting 1.5 million annually. Statewide, the parks bring in $364.5 million in visitor spending and support 4,500 local jobs.


While the natural landscape—majestic volcanoes, wondrous rainforests, endemic wildlife—has long attracted visitors to Hawai‘i parks, the cultural significance at these various sites predates the NPS designation and continues to be a major focal point at these national parks.


 “What’s important to remember about both Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Haleakalā National Park is that even though we’re celebrating 100 years of being a national park, Native Hawaiians have been drawn to these landscapes for far longer than that,” says Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane. “The significance of the anniversary is certainly there, but Hawaiian culture plays a huge part in the preservation of these parks … They’re not just for tourists, they’re not just an attraction. We’re really part of the community and we reflect the community here. That’s something people don’t realize about the national parks.”


If you’re on Maui between Aug. 28  and Oct. 23, check out an art exhibit about Haleakalā National Park at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, mauiarts.com.


Read More Stories by Catherine Toth Fox