Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park is located on the island of Maui in the US state of Hawaii. It covers an area of 33,265 acres (134.62 km²) of which over half is wilderness. It was first created a national park in 1916 as part of a larger park but was given separate status in 1961. It was designated an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980. The name Haleakalā is Hawaiian for ‘house of the sun’, and according to local legend, the demigod, Maui, imprisoned the sun here in order to lengthen the day.
The park is divided into two distinct sections: the summit area and the coastal Kipahulu area. The two sections are separated by the Kipahulu Valley Biological Reserve, a conservation area closed to the public.
The summit area features the dormant Haleakala (East Maui) volcano, which last erupted about 400 years ago. At its peak it is 3,055 meters (10,023 ft) high, and its crater is huge: 6.99 miles (11.25 km) across, 2.0 miles (3.2 km) wide, and some 2,600 feet (790 m) deep. The interior of the crater is dotted with numerous volcanic features, including large cinder cones. The summit is famous as a place to watch sunrise and sunset, and to observe the night skies.
Evolution and adaption to a testing environment has resulted in many unique species of plants and animals; several are endangered. Of note is the haleakala silverwood. It has numerous sword-like succulent leaves covered with silver hairs making it able to survive the wind and freezing temperatures of the high altitude as well as the drying effects of the sun. It sends up a tall flowering stalk, up to 2 metres (6.6 ins) in height, bearing hundreds of flower heads.
The crater is home to Nene (Hawaiian Geese). These birds had died out in the area but were reintroduced in 1946 with the help of Boy Scouts who carried young birds into the crater in their backpacks.
The Kipahulu section of the park is tropical and full of waterfalls and streams where rare native fish swim.