Haleakala National Park on Maui is closed due to the government shutdown. Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawai’i Tourism Authority has stated, “All state and county parks, beaches and trails remain open and none of the states airports have been affected,” said McCartney on October 1st.
Although there was some good news this week from Washington DC that all government workers will receive back pay for their furloughed time including our wonderful park rangers, it is still sad for the thousands of visitors who may miss the chance to drive to the summit of one of the highest mountains in the pacific, Haleakala. Luckily Maui has an amazing amount of things to do that are open to all, including one of Maui’s biggest must do’s – the road to Hana!
Some people think the road to Hana is a national park. Although it is a national scenic byway, it is not a national park and the only thing that is closed along this winding gem of rain forests and waterfalls currently is the Pools of Oheo. All other businesses and parks along the road are open.
In fact, having lived on Maui as a professional photographer for over 17 years, I can tell you that October is one of my favorite times to be on Maui. I have always told my friends to try and visit Maui during October because it is a slow time of year and there are less people. This makes it easier to get around (including the road to Hana) and to book activities, plus it’s just starting to cool down from the hot summers and the surf is excellent.
The National park shutdown on Maui has had little effect in most folks daily life on the island, and that is especially true for the road to Hana. Ray Hutaff, owner and president of Valley Isle Excursions says the closing of the Pools of O’he’o happens anyways a few days of the year due to flooding rains and has not had much affect on his Hana tour company. “If anything,” says Ray, “it gives our people on tour a chance to see some of Hana’s lesser known places now that we have freed up an hour or more that we would have normally spent at the Pools of O’he’o.”
Hopefully the National Park will open soon, but either way the road to Hana will always be worth the journey. If you’re coming to Maui rest assured that there’ll always be plenty to do and see no matter what time of year you travel or what’s going on in Washington DC!
Aloha Nui Loa,