For people like Rachel Anderson who was visiting Pearl Harbor for the first time, today was a gamble.
“I asked the tour company this morning where the pickup was, and he said there was a 50-50 chance it would be open. We got here and the boats were running and we are very happily surprised,” Anderson said.
Others, like another first time visitor Ron Carmanico, didn’t give the government shut down too much thought.
“Wasn’t really aware much of it until just a few days ago and then was glad to see that it was open for us to come and visit,” Carmanico said.
Four separate non-profits came together to provide 11-thousand dollars to fund daily park operations at Pearl Harbor.
Aileen Utterdyke, the President and CEO of the nonprofit Pacific Historic Parks, told KHON2 it was a difficult process that required quick decisions.
“But I think the feeling is that it does help our visitors. They have come from all over the world. They don’t understand, they don’t know why it would be shut down. They don’t understand that the life savings they’ve saved up to come to the park could have been in vain,” Utterdyke said.
While the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument remained open, recreation.gov is closed as well as the new online reservations for the park. Tickets are available for daily walk-ups starting at 7 a.m.
Pearl Harbor visitors may have been pleasantly surprised today, but others visiting national parks across the state did have to contend with park closures.
At Haleakala, all restrooms, visitor centers, and other facilities are closed. Back country camping and cabin permits are not being issued and emergency medical response is extremely limited.
As for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, The Kīlauea Volcano is closed both at the summit and from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent. The park posted on their website that “hazards associated with the active volcano pose a significant risk to the safety of visitors in the absence of park staff.”
Guests at Volcano House and Kilauea Military Camp have until Monday morning to leave the park, and the Volcano Art Center Gallery is also closed.
Back on Oahu, we found out the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl is still open today.