Haleakala Sunrise Viewing Reservation System To Begin February 2017

Photo: Rich Donovan

Beginning on February 1, 2017, visitors in personal or rental vehicles wishing to view sunrise at Haleakalā National Park will need to make sunrise viewing reservations ahead of time at recreation.gov. The online reservation system is being implemented to ensure visitor and employee safety, protect natural and cultural resources, and provide a quality visitor experience at the summit during sunrise hours (3am to 7am). The reservation system will go live on December 1, 2016. The cost is $1.50 per car. Before February 1, 2017, sunrise viewing parking spaces will continue to be available without advanced reservation, on a first-come, first-served basis.

The one-day sunrise reservation will not be sold at the park but is available online, up to 60 days ahead of the date of the sunrise visit. The reservation is only available via recreation.gov and cannot be transferred. To enter the Summit District between 3am and 7am, the reservation holder must be present and show both the one-day sunrise reservation receipt (for that day) and a photo ID.

Due to limited parking, visitors without a sunrise viewing reservation will have to wait until after 7am to enter the park. There is no refund or exchange of the reservation due to inclement weather or change of plans. There is no change to the National Park Service’s current policy regarding Kanaka Maoli who wish to conduct traditional practices in the park. There is no change to the park’s current Commercial Use Authorization policy regarding sunrise tours.

The park entrance fee is separate and payable by credit card or park pass on the day of visit. The entrance fee is good for three days, with receipt.

The four summit parking lots serving sunrise viewing hold approximately 150 vehicles. Vehicles regularly exceed 300 per sunrise. When vehicles outnumber parking spaces, visitors park on road shoulders or in the upbound lane of Crater Road. The cars block emergency vehicle access and damage park infrastructure, vegetation, and critical habitat for endangered species such as the Hawaiian petrel and Haleakalā silversword.

Crowds at sunrise viewpoints often number over 1,000, with accidents resulting from visitors moving off trail and climbing cliff sides in the dark. Recreation.gov is easy to use and will ensure that reservation holders can access the summit and safely view sunrise.

In summer 2016 the park gathered public input on options regarding sunrise visitor management. This interim reservation system was deemed the best short-term option. In 2017, the park will develop a long-term Sunrise Summit Visitor Management Plan (Environmental Assessment), and will again welcome public comments. For more information about the new sunrise reservation system, go to the park’s website at www.nps.gov or call 572-4400.

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