The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) closed additional recreation areas amid Mauna Loa’s current eruption.
Unit J of the Kapāpala Game Management Area is closed until further notice. On Monday, DOFAW announced the closure of the entire Mauna Loa Forest Reserve. In addition, the Kīpuka ʻĀinahou Nēnē Sanctuary, ʻĀinapō Trail and cabin, and the Kapāpala Forest Reserve will be closed for 90-days.
In a press release, DOFAW Hawai‘i Island Branch Manager Steve Bergfeld said, “No one should be accessing Mauna Loa at this time. Our sole focus is on public safety, which depends on where lava ultimately flows.”
Earlier, the National Park Service closed access to the Mauna Loa summit from the south, due to the initial period of volcanic unrest. In a press release Jack Corrao, Chief Ranger at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, stated, “As part of our eruption response plan, Hawai‘i Volcanoes has implemented further closures to the main, easy, access points that lead up to the Mauna Loa Summit. These include the Mauna Loa Observatory Access Road through Hawai‘i County and Mauna Loa Road, known locally as “Strip Road.” These have been closed physically through barriers. Individuals attempting to access through these are subject to fines and arrest.”