Volcanoes National Park to reopen today

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will reopen today after being closed for more than two weeks because of the partial government shutdown.

Park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane said Wednesday evening the park had been given the green light to reopen after Congress struck a deal to end its fiscal impasse.

The front gate will open at 6 a.m. while the park’s visitor center will open at 8:45, she said.

Ferracane said she wasn’t aware of any parts of the park that still may be closed while many of its employees return to work for the first time since Oct. 1.

The park — the Big Island’s main tourist attraction — had furloughed 127 of its 140 employees during the shutdown.

Ferracane said employees are looking forward to going back to work.

“We are really eager to share the national park with visitors again,” she said.

The park, which sees on average 4,500 visitors a day, turned away hundreds of people some days during the closure.

“It has not been an easy job to turn people away. It’s not in our DNA to do that,” she said.

Ferracane said about 200 other employees working at the Volcano House, Kilauea Military Camp and Volcano Art Center have also been impacted.

“I’m sure our park partners, the tour operators and hotels, are feeling some relief as well,” she said.

Stephens Media Hawaii