Two female nēnē were killed recently by speeding motorists on Crater Road at Haleakala National Park. One fatality occurred outside the park near mile marker 9, the other occurred at the Hosmer Grove intersection inside the park. One of the deaths was reported after an adult bird carcass was found November 15. The other incident occurred November 12.
“This is a truly worrisome start to the nēnē breeding season,” said park superintendent Natalie Gates. “We didn’t just lose two birds; we lost several potential generations of an endangered species. Driving slowly along the entire length of Crater Road is the only truly controllable thing humans can do, on a daily basis, to help this species.”
“The road bisects the nēnē’s breeding habitat,” said park wildlife biologist Cathleen Bailey. “Nēnē literally cross roads to ‘get to the other side.’”
In addition, nēnē often seek food in the short grass along road shoulders or drink the water run-off that accumulates along roads. The park is working to make roadsides less attractive to nēnē by removing short grass and filling in holes. The birds are especially active during breeding season and more likely to be seen by visitors.
“Many motorists are not used to the steepness of the road and how fast a car can suddenly pick up speed,” said Polly Angelakis, chief of interpretation. “Visitors should use low gear when driving downhill to hold back their vehicles and save wear and tear on their brakes. Using low gear will make their own journey safer and help save this bird and other wildlife.”
“Nēnē have been around for thousands of years; cars have only been here for 100. The birds just aren’t used to cars,” said Angelakis. “Please slow down and drive carefully, especially in low light conditions.”
Traffic cones, caution signs, and other traffic calming devices have been placed in the park to remind drivers to slow down. Posters, with guidance in 6 languages, are in the two summit visitor centers and at the Summit Entrance Station. The park is working with the visitor industry to get the word out as well.
The nēnē is endangered due to habitat loss and non-native predators, such as cats and mongoose, that eat eggs and prey on birds. There are less than 300 nēnē left in the park.
By Polly Angelakis, Haleakala National Park
With the government shutdown over – for now – rangers and staff at Haleakala National Park wasted no time getting back to business. Haleakalā National Park reopened today after being closed for over two weeks due to the federal lapse in appropriations. Once a federal budget bill was signed on the evening of Wednesday October 16, park staff took immediate steps to reopen for sunrise Thursday morning.
“We’re thrilled to be open again,” said park superintendent Natalie Gates. “We look forward to people enjoying and exploring the park again and we thank our visitors, communities, and commercial service providers for their continued patience over the past two weeks.”
All roads, restrooms, and trails are open. All visitor centers opened by 9am on Thursday, October 17. Campgrounds will re-open by Thursday afternoon, after they are mowed. The pools at Oheo, which are prone to flash flooding, will be monitored again and opened as safe water levels permit. For more information on the park, visit www.nps.gov/hale or visit the park’s Facebook page.
UPDATE: THE FLOOD ADVISORY FOR MAUI WAS CANCELLED AT 3:20 P.M., THE FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE ENTIRE STATE.
The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a Flood Advisory for the Island of MAUI, in effect until 4:15 p.m.
This advisory may need to be extended if heavy rain persists.
A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for the entire state through this afternoon.
EFFECTS: At 1:05 p.m. radar showed heavy rain falling at rates over 2 inches per hour along the leeward slopes of Haleakala.
Other locations in this advisory include but are not limited to Wailea, Kihei, Ulupalakua, Kula and Keokea.
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES: STAY AWAY FROM STREAMS, DRAINAGE DITCHES AND LOW LYING AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING. RAINFALL AND RUNOFF WILL ALSO CAUSE HAZARDOUS DRIVING CONDITIONS DUE TO PONDING, REDUCED VISIBILITY AND POOR BRAKING ACTION. DO NOT CROSS FAST FLOWING OR RISING WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE OR ON FOOT. TURN AROUND…DON’T DROWN.
INFORMATION: Maui County Civil Defense will continue to monitor the situation. Please listen to your local radio and TV stations or NOAA Weather Radio for any updates.
NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts can be reached by calling 1-866-944-5025. NOAA Weather internet services can be found at www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl.
Pre-recorded advisories and notifications are available 24-hours a day on the Maui County Automated Information System (AIS) by calling 986-1200.
By Pauline Angelakis, NPS
HALEAKALA NATIONAL PARK – Because of the shutdown of the federal government caused by the lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service (NPS) has closed all 401 national parks, including Haleakalā National Park. All visitor facilities in the park’s Summit and Kīpahulu Districts, including buildings, overlooks, trails, campgrounds, cabins, streams, pools, parking lots, and roads, are closed to park visitors. The park will remain closed until the government reopens. Visitors should call 808-572-4400 for the latest updates.
Park officials said that visitors currently staying in overnight campgrounds and cabins will be given until noon Hawaii Time on Thursday, October 3, to leave the park. In addition, all park programs and special events have been canceled, including talks, hikes, school programs, volunteer projects, and the park’s involvement in the Maui County Fair and parade.
Haleakalā National Park hosts an average of 2000-3000 visitors each day in October. It is estimated that the park will lose approximately $6800 of entrance fees for each day of the shutdown. These fees are used to maintain the park’s visitor facilities and provide visitor services. More than 715,000 visitors a day frequent the entire National Park System. Nationwide, the NPS stands to lose approximately $450,000 per day in revenue.
Gateway communities across the United States see about $76 million per day in total sales from visitor spending that is lost during a government shutdown. Per 2008 figures, visitors spent over $78 million dollars a year in Maui County in association with park visits. In 2008, commercial service provider wages, plus National Park Service payroll, supported 1660 jobs and $55 million in economic activity in Maui County.
In Haleakalā National Park, approximately 15 NPS employees remain on duty, providing security and emergency services. Over 70 NPS employees are on furlough because of the shutdown.
Over 29 businesses with commercial use permits and numerous non-profit cooperating association employees are not able to conduct business in the park during the park closure.
Nationwide, the shutdown has resulted in furloughs for more than 20,000 National Park Service employees; approximately 3,000 employees remain on duty to ensure essential health, safety, and security functions at parks and facilities. About 12,000 park concessions employees nationwide are being affected.
Because it will not be maintained, the National Park Service website will be down for the duration of the shutdown. NPS.gov hosts more than 750,000 pages and 91 million visitors each year.
For updates on the shutdown, please visit www.doi.gov/shutdown.
By Jeff King
A Lahaina man – the subject of a two-day search after going missing missing Wednesday inside Haleakala Crater – was found safe Friday. Despite being tired and cold, Haleakala park officials say the man was unhurt.
Richard Scheidman of Lahaina was reported missing by his wife after failing to return from a crater hike. He began his trek shortly before noon, Wednesday, at the 8,000 foot level. He was expected home around 7 p.m. A search began Wednesday night with Maui Fire and rescue crews and Air-1. His car was found in the parking lot – with his cell phone on the seat. The incident was turned over to National Park officials Thursday.
Scheidman, in his 60s, was located Friday around 4:45 p.m. near Hosmer’s Grove campground. Medics attended to him but he was reportedly not hospitalized.
Ground teams from the National Park Service and Maui and Honolulu police and Maui fire crews and helicopters searched for Scheidman during daylight hours Thursday and Friday. Friday’s search had been suspended around 2 p.m, and officials were deliberating whether to conduct another search this morning when Scheidman was found, park officials said.
Maui Police Lt. Jayson Rego said Scheidman was found outside the park fenceline after becoming lost while trying to make his way back to his car. He emerged from brush near a Hosmer Grove campsite and was calling for help, Rego said. Tourists assisted Scheidman and called police.
Scheidman was “alert and coherent” and “soaking wet” after a storm Wednesday night and rainshowers Thursday morning, Rego said. Scheidman reported hearing helicopters searching for him but was unable to signal them.
By Jeff King
The search resumed this morning at first light for a hiker, reported missing late last night at Haleakala National Park. Maui Fire Department rescue crews were dispatched at 11:22 p.m. Wednesday to the crater.
A 67 year-old man – reported to be a frequent visitor and familiar with the crater trails – did not return from his hike. His wife last saw him yesterday morning. Fire fighters located his car at the 8000 foot level with his cell phone on the front seat of his car. There have been no further developments reported yet today.
Copyright © 2013 - Island News Technologies, LLC - All rights reserved