Friends of World Heritage sent me this message:
Did you know that the United States was the first country to sign the treaty that established UNESCO World Heritage sites? Or that there are 20 U.S. national parks and monuments inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List?To read the full interview, click here.
One of the most popular of these sites is Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, a unique and beautiful landscape that is home to two of the world’s active volcanoes. Its designation as a U.S. National Park (since 1916) and a UNESCO World Heritage site (since 1987) helps preserve the area’s striking geology, biodiversity and culture. But with over 1.7 million visitors last year alone, the challenges of conservation depend on a healthy relationship between the park and its visitors.
To learn more about this breath-taking site and the challenges it faces we interviewed Cindy Orlando, superintendent of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Read on to find out about touring two of the most active volcanoes in the world, the hundreds of species that are found only on their slopes, and the people who coexist on this constantly changing island.
FoWH: What makes HVNP a special place?
Orlando: There’s so much that makes the park special. Two of the five volcanoes on the island are within the park, making the volcanoes an important component of the park visit. The ability to approach an active volcano gives visitors an opportunity to discover first-hand how the Earth was born. And learning about the Hawaiian people who still inhabit these lands gives visitors a glimpse into the stories and journeys of the host culture of this area. Lastly, it contains outstanding natural values – such as craters, summit trails, desert and rainforest.