‘Fee-free’ weekend at Kilauea Lighthouse
KILAUEA — Admission fees to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge will be waived for the Veterans’ Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, said Jennifer Waipa, the KPNWR Supervisory Park Ranger.
The refuge will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It will be closed Monday in observance of Veterans’ Day, but refuge volunteers will be stationed at the refuge overlook to offer natural history interpretation and assist visitors throughout the day.
The Kilauea Lighthouse, located in the refuge, will also be available for viewing without its protective shroud as construction workers removed it Wednesday morning, ahead of its December deadline.
The shroud and its accompanying scaffolding framework was installed as part of the Kilauea Lighthouse Restoration, Phase II. Overall restoration of the historic lighthouse, an icon of the Kilauea community, is expected to be completed for the 100th anniversary of the structure in May 2013.
“I urge everyone to take the opportunity to come to Kilauea Point over the fee-free Veterans’ Day weekend to see the exterior of the lighthouse and the progress made so far,” said Shannon Smith, refuge project leader, in an email. “This is a fine example of what coming together as a community can accomplish.”
The project first started with the Kilauea community expressing its desire to restore the lighthouse in 2002, prompting the Kilauea Point Natural History Association, a nonprofit organization, to launch a capital campaign in 2008 for the restoration.
Labeled the “Beacon for the Generations to Come, Ka Lama Kuhikuhi No Na Hanauna,” the community support generated more than $850,000.
Future work will involve work on the second order Fresnel lens, finishing measures to protect key internal components and public safety measures to allow for more frequent tours to just above the interior watch room level of the lighthouse.
The intent is to allow for the public to safely get closer views of the lens and vistas more often than was allowed in the past while protecting the lens level, the “crown jewel” of the historic structure.