During a volcanic eruption, we’re reminded of how ever-changing our planet can be. Take Kilauea and Mauna Loa, for instance; as two of the most active volcanoes in the world, they have added a remarkable 500 acres of land to the Big Island since first erupting in 1984. That’s why their home base – the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – had been declared a World Heritage Site 25 years ago.

Lava flows like this can add more acreage to existing Big Island lands.

With only 21 sites in the country, a World Heritage Site is a place with special cultural or physical significance. The national park qualifies as such because of its three decades or so of constant active lava flow, as well as the large number of rare birds, endemic species and forests of giant ferns. Both volcanoes have created a constantly changing landscape throughout the years, which helped reveal impressive geological formations.

In honor of the Volcanoes Park’s enlisting as a World Heritage Site, the public’s invited to a free event on Nov. 11, 2012, when park admission will also be free. There will be several other free events leading up to this one – a cultural festival on July 14 and then on Sept. 29, the largest single-day volunteer event for public lands in the country.

As of 2012, there are 961 sites on the list. Italy has the greatest number, with 47 sites – including Rome and Florence.


• Ocean View, Hawaii • 808-985-6000 • $10 per vehicle; $5 per inpidual, both good for a week

Photo Credit: Katherine Finch


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