VOLCANO GUIDE PROPOSAL by Ken Hon, Jenda Johnson, and Cheryl Gansecki Thanks to HVO for many of the images in the slide backgrounds
PURPOSE <ul><li>Developing a program of volcano guides would serve to enhance the visitor experience and education. </li></ul><ul><li>A volcano guide program would help assure that visitors would be able to access lava safely </li></ul><ul><li>The program would promote longer stays in East Hawai‘i and create additional job opportunities. </li></ul>
RESOURCES Erupting volcanoes on the Big Island are a major attraction to visitors. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park does an excellent job of getting visitors to accessible lava within the National Park but has insufficient resources to lead guided tours for groups.
RESOURCES Hawai‘i County lacks both the funding and infrastructure to handle organized lava viewing on a long term basis. The Kalapana viewing area was highly successful from a visitor standpoint, but activity ceased as the operation began to pay for itself. The large number of resources and unpredictability of lava flows make it difficult for the county to supply these services over the long term.
TOUR OPERATIONS <ul><li>There are many organized tour companies on the Big Island but only a few offer trips to active eruptions </li></ul><ul><li>The tours that are offered vary greatly in quality of information and safety preparation. Guides may or may not have adequate knowledge to lead the groups. </li></ul>
PROPOSAL <ul><li>Create a group of trained guides that would have the option of either working for existing tour companies or creating their own businesses. </li></ul><ul><li>The guides would be certified by an independent organization. </li></ul>
TRAINING <ul><li>Guides would be trained: </li></ul><ul><li>How Hawaiian volcanoes work </li></ul><ul><li>The behavior of lava flows </li></ul><ul><li>Native Hawaiian beliefs and cultural approaches to eruptions </li></ul><ul><li>Lava flow hazards, safety, dealing with groups, navigation on lava flows. </li></ul><ul><li>First Aid </li></ul>
OBJECTIVE <ul><li>To create a group of guides with training and attitudes that are compatible with those of National Park Service Interpreters. </li></ul><ul><li>The guides would enhance visitor experiences by taking visitors safely to eruption sites and teaching them about scientific and cultural aspects of eruptions. </li></ul>
BENEFITS <ul><li>Volcano guides could be a real resource in assisting both Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i County with visitor management. </li></ul><ul><li>The presence of knowledgeable guides with small groups will enhance the safety of visitation. </li></ul>
INCENTIVES TO USE GUIDES <ul><li>Many visitors are uncomfortable walking over active or recently active lava flows without knowledgeable guides. </li></ul><ul><li>Hawai‘i Volcanoes NP has done an excellent job of quickly re–routing trails that provide visitors safe paths to eruption sites. These trails provide great assurance to the visitors and are excellent. </li></ul>
INCENTIVES TO USE GUIDES <ul><li>When eruption viewing areas are too far from the road to mark, many visitors who could otherwise make the trip are hesitant to travel alone. </li></ul><ul><li>Other visitors often go without proper preparation. </li></ul>
INCENTIVES TO USE GUIDES <ul><li>Having a guide not only is an assurance to the visitors, but it provides them with a source of information that they might otherwise have received. </li></ul><ul><li>In addition, the presence of an informed guide makes it much more likely that the visitors will experience eruption viewing. </li></ul>
INCREASED SAFETY <ul><li>Having groups travel into areas with trusted guides assures that they will behave appropriately and avoid known dangers such as benches. </li></ul><ul><li>Having a proper component of Hawaiian cultural education will also encourage visitors to behave appropriately when viewing lava. </li></ul><ul><li>Guides would also be able to inform Park Rangers of conditions on the flows and any other groups that were encountered. </li></ul>
ENHANCED VIEWING OPPORTUNITIES <ul><li>If the program works as currently envisioned, the availability of highly trained guides could open additional access during eruptions. </li></ul><ul><li>Regions that currently pose problems due to lack of resources are: Areas near vents, Mauna Loa eruptions, Kilauea summit eruptions. </li></ul>
OTHER OPTIONS <ul><li>Guides could be used to relieve the strain on NPS and HVO personnel who are often required to guide TV crews and other scientists in the field. </li></ul><ul><li>The pressure for this increases during large events, especially Mauna Loa Eruptions. </li></ul>
RELATIONSHIPS <ul><li>Adding private guides could relieve some of the burden on government agencies while at the same time create jobs in the community. </li></ul><ul><li>This is dependent on creating and maintaining a guide community that has the appropriate training and the respect of the government agencies. </li></ul>
HOW WOULD IT WORK <ul><li>It is important for all of the government agencies to agree mutually on access to eruption areas. In order for the guide program to succeed, it needs to be sustainable. </li></ul><ul><li>This does not mean agencies relinquish control, but would set up appropriate areas for guided tours. </li></ul>
LEVELS OF GUIDES <ul><li>Access to different regions could be varied depending on the experience of the guides. </li></ul><ul><li>The certification process would be graded into 3 levels. </li></ul><ul><li>Certification would be done by a non–profit organization. </li></ul>
CERTIFICATION <ul><li>To be certified a guide would have to: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Take the appropriate training </li></ul><ul><li>2. Have first aid training </li></ul><ul><li>3. Show proof of insurance </li></ul><ul><li>4. Be approved by government agencies </li></ul><ul><li>(this allows the NPS, CD etc. to veto </li></ul><ul><li> certification in specific cases) </li></ul>
CERTIFYING BODY <ul><li>The certifying body would be a Board of Volcano Guides, possibly under the Hawai‘i Ecotourism Authority </li></ul><ul><li>The board would have seats for representatives from all appropriate agencies and several elected guides. </li></ul>
Volcano Guides <ul><li>The ideas presented here are just some starting points for how a workable Volcano Guide program might be structured. The final plan will need careful structuring to make sure the program is sustainable and achieves the goal of being an asset to all of the government agencies involved. </li></ul>
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