Hawaii’s Iao Valley reopens following storm last year
WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Iao Valley State Monument has reopened, at least temporarily, after sustaining severe damage from a massive flood nearly a year ago.
The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources announced Friday the park was reopening Saturday after being closed since Sept. 13.
The heavy rains that forced the park to close also flooded homes, destroyed water pipes and wreaked havoc at Kepaniwai Park and Iao, The Maui News reported (http://bit.ly/2v7y83P ).
Kepaniwai reopened in April.
The state continues making repairs in areas of Iao Valley park but decided to reopen it for residents and visitors during a hiatus in construction pending permit approvals.
Officials say they expect work to resume sometime this fall.
“We thank the Maui community and visitors for their patience and understanding during the park closure, but we still need to complete further safety measures later this year,” State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell said.
Polynesian Adventure Tours has not scheduled bus tours for the first week of Iao’s reopening so residents can visit the park without buses arriving, the announcement said.
Changes to the parking lot include guardrail fencing at various locations to keep buses within the upper parking area.
Also, changes have been made to pathways leading to the Hawaiian Garden and to the park’s summit lookout.
The Hawaiian Garden is open, with new security fencing installed to keep people away from a portion of a walkway that collapsed in the flood.
The floodwaters also severely damaged and removed a lower loop trail that had run along the stream. The area has been cleared but remains fenced off and closed for public safety.
State parks officials are considering ways to make it safe for public access.