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2013: Looking Back on an Exciting Year

December 31, 2013

On January 3, 2013, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the current eruption of Kilauea Volcano. In addition to the activity at Pu’u O’o, the 5-year long summit eruption continued unabated. Here, incandescent lines mark the boundaries between migrating crustal plates on the surface of the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu crater. (USGS)

2013 has been a busy and exciting year across America’s National Parks in the Pacific Islands. We thought we would share with you some of the highlights of what we experienced this year. Enjoy!

On April 24, the National Park of American Samoa celebrated the grand opening of its new visitor center. The new visitor center replaces the previous one that was destroyed by the 2009 tsunami and culminates the national park’s recovery efforts. Superintendent Jim Bacon, Chief of Interpretation and Education Michael Larson, First Lady Cynthia Moliga, and Governor Lolo Moliga cut the ribbon at the visitor center entrance. (NPS)

Raise your flipper if you are the record 10th Hawaiian monk seal to be born at Kalaupapa National Historical Park this year! The Hawaiian Monk Seal is critically endangered, so we are all excited to have so many births this year! (NPS / S. Sylvester)


Sailors, park rangers and professional football players along with their families and coaching staff pose outside the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument’s Visitor Center after conducting the White Boat Tour of Pearl Harbor. NFL players were visiting Honolulu for the Hawaii hosted 2013 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan/Released)

Several of our national parks held their annual Hawaiian Cultural Festivals, including Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. (NPS)

“Proud parents,” Carol and Mark Johnson, stand next to an endangered Clermontia peleana they planted which now flourishes with many others in an exclosure in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. (NPS)


Sailors and Rangers working together. Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Garrett Sullivan, assigned to the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40), plants a palm tree with park rangers from the Asan Bay Overlook unit. The event was part of a community service project that brought Sailors and park rangers together for the restoration and beautification of the War in the Pacific National Historical Park. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Gabrielle Joyner/Released)

A very special donation was made to Kalaupapa National Historical Park this past April, courtesy of Grandma Jean O’Keefe of Kualapu‘u, Molokai. The donation consisted of three objects associated with the life of Father Damien. Father Damien was canonized in the Roman Catholic Church as a Martyr of Charity in 2009, and objects associated with his life are now considered holy relics. The donation to Kalaupapa NHP included: a fragment of the Saint’s original coffin; cloth that touched his head; and nails he used to build the original Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Church on Molokai. (NPS)

Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, spent several days in early September in Hawaii and the Marshall Islands following her keynote address at the 12th annual Native Hawaiian Convention. Here, Secretary Jewell visits with Pearl Harbor Survivor Herb Weatherwax. (NPS)


During 2013, the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail mason crew stabilized a culturally significant portion of the trail using traditional methods (NPS)

Some of the MANY children that became Junior Rangers this year throughout the Pacific National Parks. (NPS)



In July, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park offered visitors a chance to experience authentic Hawaiian culture through the park’s Hawaiian Cultural Festival. Here, participants play ipu heke (gourd drums) during a hula performance. (NPS)

In February, National Park of American Samoa and the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa divers assisted Nautilus researcher Dr. Peter Ward from the University of Washington in a release exercise within the national park, out from the village of Amalau. (NPS)

Science Communications Coordinator Cory Nash with the National Park Service’s Inventory and Monitory Program was busy this year attending Earth Day events, cultural festivals, and other outreach events. Through fun interactive educational games, Cory was able to communicate important information to children about protecting Hawaii’s environment and about the potential impacts of climate change on our Pacific islands. (NPS)

Volunteers That Count…humpback whales that is…Once again, volunteers gathered at Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site in January, February and March to take part in the annual Sanctuary Ocean Count. (NPS)

Spared a direct hit from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Flossie, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park still sustained some minor damage as a result of the storm system’s winds. (NPS)

Search and Rescue Coordinator John Broward is lowered into the rainforest by helicopter during a rescue after a visitor climbed over a barrier and fell 115 feet down a sheer cliff behind Volcano House in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. (NPS)

Park ranger Pua gives a presentation to the cruise ship visitors during their on-board program on the Star Princess during its stop in Pago Pago, American Samoa. (NPS)


Sailors from Construction Dive Detachment Alpha, part of Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 2 out of Port Hueneme, Calif., dive over the remains of USS Arizona on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean Furey/Released)

Like all national parks, our parks were affected by the government shutdown in October. Here, the Macfarlanes of Scotland were the first visitors to enter Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park when it reopened in mid-October. (NPS/J.Ferracane)

Meet Hawaii’s “Iron Ranger”. Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park ranger Jon Jokiel completed his first Ironman World Championship in October. Way to go Jon! (NPS)

Park volunteers George Jensen (left) and Paul Field salute as Park Ranger Keoni Kaholoa‘a raises the flags outside Kīlauea Visitor Center in honor of Veterans Day 2013. (NPS/ Jay Robinson)

Park ranger Ricky Misa’alefua examines a washed up FAD (Fish Aggregation Device) snagged in the ocean waters of our national park in Ofu island. (NPS)

Sadako Sasaki contracted leukemia caused by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima when she was just a young girl, and died of the disease in 1955 when she was only 12. Yet she left a powerful and lasting message behind for the rest of the world. She folded over a thousand paper cranes with an ultimate message of peace and reconciliation for the generations that would follow her. The Sasaki family gifted one of these cranes for permanent display at the Pearl Harbor visitor center, and on international peace day, September 21, 2013 the exhibit featuring the crane was dedicated at Pearl Harbor. (NPS)

National Park of American Samoa staff celebrating the 25th anniversary of the park’s establishment . (NPS)

On December 4, 2013 Haleakala National Park unveiled the park’s new bilingual Hawaiian-English brochure. This is the first brochure in the 401-unit National Park System to be written by community members in the host community’s language. The project is a result of collaboration between community members and park staff. (NPS)

Aloha, Talofa & Hafa Adai from all of us in America’s National Parks in the Pacific Islands! We look forward to seeing you in YOUR national parks in 2014!






























One Comment leave one →
  1. December 31, 2013 10:25 am

    Very cool year in review. Thanks to all, and here’s to a great 2014 !

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