According to new figures from the National Park Service published by Pacific Business News, visits to Haleakala National Park fell about 12.5 percent in August compared to the same time last year. That’s almost three times higher than the average statewide decline in visits to National Parks (4.2 percent).
Initially you might assume the more dramatic drop-off was due to visitors not wanting to spring for an inter-island flight after landing on Oahu, but three Big Island parks saw increases; visits to Puukohola Heiau jumped more than 11 percent.
So what’s the problem here? Not like Haleakala has gotten any less beautiful. Of course, those in the Native Hawaiian community who see the volcano as a sacred monument that should mostly be left alone might not view this as a “problem” at all. As usual: complicated.