Eleven people who illegally entered Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Saturday were cited by National Park Service law enforcement rangers for disobeying a lawful closure and disorderly conduct.
The group snuck past numerous closure signs and ventured down to the rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater below Jaggar Museum. They were spotted by a National Park Service geomorphologist and trail crew assessing seismic damage across the caldera at Keanakāko‘i.
“When people put themselves at risk, they put first responders at risk,” said Chief Ranger John Broward. “Some of the offenders were spotted right at the sheer edge of the crater, which is now about 1,500 feet deep and extremely unstable. They are fortunate none of them died,” he said.
The group parked their vehicles near Nāmakanipaio Campground and claimed they did not see the numerous closure signs between Highway 11, the museum, and the crater’s edge. Each person, 10 men and one woman, was cited $100 for violating a lawful closure and $250 for disorderly conduct. There is a $30 processing fee for each citation.
Most of the park has been closed since May 11 due to dangerous and damaging seismic activity and subsidence at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano. The activity has waned since Aug. 2, and the park has set a target date of Sept. 22 to partially reopen after safety assessments are complete, provided no additional natural disasters occur.
NPS file image of entrance to HVNP.