Maui News

Deadline Nears for Haleakalā Trail Volunteer Program

May 12, 2015, 1:57 PM HST
* Updated May 12, 2:02 PM
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Kevin Kavula with crater visitors. Photo courtesy Haleakalā National Park.

Kevin Kavula assists visitors along the Sliding Sands Trail. Photo courtesy Haleakalā National Park.

By Maui Now Staff

The deadline to apply for Haleakalā National Park’s Kiaʻi Ala Hele “Trail Guardians” volunteer program is Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

The minimum time commitment for the program is six hours per month for six months.  There are also three required training sessions being offered at the following times, dates and locations:

  • Wednesday, May 27, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Pukalani Community Center;
  • Saturday, May 30, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the park headquarters; and
  • Saturday, June 20, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the park headquarters.

Park representatives say families are particularly encouraged to apply.

Participants in the Trail Guardians program work to educate backpackers and hikers about the unique natural and cultural resources of Haleakalā. Training sessions cover natural and cultural resources, education, emergency protocols, and CPR/First Aid.

Trash pickup at the crater. Photo courtesy Haleakalā National Park.

Ryan Hunt picks up trash along Sliding Sands Trail. Photo courtesy Haleakalā National Park.

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The program was launched as a pilot in 2014 with funding provided by the Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association, a non-profit park partner.

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Twelve of the original 14 volunteers continue to participate, including the Hunt and Kavula families, who saw Kiaʻi Ala Hele as way to spend family time in a place they all love.

“I was immediately drawn to Kiaʻi Ala Hele,” said Jennifer Hunt in a park announcement.  Hunt, who volunteers with husband Terry and 13 year old son Ryan continued saying, “We have been hiking in Haleakalā with our son since he was five-years-old.  It is a beautiful place and we knew early on that we had found something special. It’s such a great opportunity for Ryan and kids today in general, to unplug and see what is out in the real world. We all really enjoy having a reason to go up there once a month. It has been a great experience for us.”

Cyndee Kavula also commented saying, “My husband Kevin and I signed up to give back to the community and provide a support network for the National Park Service.  Being Trail Guardians allows us, as a couple, to learn and educate visitors by being part of a team that preserves and protects Haleakalā. The future of our National Parks depends on all of us.”

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Superintendent Natalie Gates said the experiences of the Hunt and Kavula families highlight what a powerful experience volunteering can be.

“A key focus of the 2016 National Park Service Centennial is connecting local people to their local parks. Kiaʻi Ala Hele is one way we are building those connections,” said Gates.

Volunteers are needed in both the Kīpahulu and Summit Districts.

For more information and to apply go to the “Kiaʻi Ala Hele” link on the Haleakalā National Park website.

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