by NWHIT Staff
by NWHIT Staff
Kupuna, scientists and park rangers at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park want everyone to know that stacking rocks around the volcano is doing a great deal of harm.
Visitors to Kīlauea often stack rocks, perhaps as an uninformed attempt to show respect for Hawaiian deities, but Kupuna Pele Hanoa said, “That’s desecration of our culture.” He calls the misguided practice sacrilege, as there are many areas around the volcano that are considered sacred. “We don’t want those rock pilings put up all over the place.” said Hanoa.
Scientists are equally unhappy because moving rocks around disrupts scientific evidence of long-ago eruptions, making research more difficult. According to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey, “the construction of rock piles erases geologic history.”
And park rangers have to work overtime in order to dismantle the rock piles and educate the tourists. The rangers also warn that altering the natural setting in a national park violates federal law and warn that those who do so can be charged with a misdemeanor that may result in a $5,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
An easy thirty-minute drive from Hilo, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park receives more than 2.5 million visitors each year and most of the rock piles are found around Halema`uma`u Crater, the main stop for all tourists.
It is not clear how or why rock piling began but rangers notice that leaving one stack up results in more unsightly stacks springing up around it. Everyone connected with Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park are urging visitors to leave all stones unturned and untouched.
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