On the first day of 2019, ten days after the U.S. Federal Government shutdown resulted in the halting of all park visitor services atop Haleakala, concerned citizens mobilised to direct visitors and oversee that park rules were observed.

The citizen action was prompted by Joyclynn Costa who was concerned by the lack of ranger presence atop Haleakala. She said “this Ike came to me” to set a kapu and to cordon off restricted areas with Ki. Some citizens involved said they were galvanised by reports of visitors wandering off of the trails, parking in undesignated areas, and disturbing pohaku. For cultural practitioner Richard Maele DeLeon, a particular concern was witnessing visitors treading amongst the beds of Haleakala Ahinahina/Silversword, an endangered endemic plant sacred to Hawaiians.

‘Ahinahina Haleakala (Photo Credit: Richard Maele DeLeon)

From early morning, the citizen led group maintained a presence by setting up at the summit. They explained the park rules to entering visitors and monitored the trails. The kapu was placed at high noon and plans to continue a presence atop Haleakala are ongoing.