Visitors who explore the summit of Kilauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park can now learn about the dramatic 2018 eruption and navigate their way between destinations on the volcano with the help of new informative wayfinding signs.
Thirty new signs, funded by the park’s nonprofit partner, the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the National Park Foundation, interpret the 2018 summit collapse and eruption. Many of the attractive new wayfinding signs share Hawaiian place names and directions to trails and fascinating volcanic features such as steam vents and sulfur deposits. Others include models of Kaluapele (Kilauea caldera) that reveal the geologic changes to the summit area through time.
The signs were designed and installed by staff and volunteers on the park’s Interpretation and Education team. They are strategically placed around the summit and at the Kilauea Visitor Center lanai. A new upright orientation sign will soon be installed at the Kahuku Unit, with information about the eight trails, a map and other useful information, bringing the total number of new park signs to 31.
“We think everyone from first-time visitors to long-time park devotees will be as pleased as we are with the beautiful new signs and the information that they convey,” said Hawaii Volcanoes National Park acting Superintendent Rhonda Loh. “We deeply appreciate the support from Friends and the National Park Foundation to fund the project.”
“This project fits perfectly with our core mission,” said Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park President and CEO Elizabeth Fien. “Having current signage in the park reduces visitor confusion and provides opportunities to learn about the momentous events of 2018 and how Kilauea changed the park.”
Beginning in May 2018, the park and Kilauea summit underwent a major change as magma drained from the chamber beneath Halema‘uma‘u Crater and the caldera began to collapse, triggering 60,000 strong earthquakes and clouds of rock and ash that continued until early August 2018. The seismic activity was primarily centered near the crater, and significantly impacted Jaggar Museum and the U.S. Geological Survey-operated Reginald T. Okamura facility, which remain closed today.
While most of the park has reopened, the 2018 eruption and caldera collapse were the most destructive eruptive events in Hawaii in the past two centuries.