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Tsunami Causes Little Damage To Parks

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avatar Tsunami Causes Little Damage To Parks
March 14, 2011 02:18PM
Pacific Coastline Parks
Tsunami Causes Little Damage To Parks

The 8.9 earthquake that struck Japan last Friday - the fifth largest quake in the world since 1900 and nearly 8,000 times stronger than the one that recently devastated Christchurch, New Zealand - produced a tsunami that crossed the Pacific and came up on the shores of park beaches from Guam to the West Coast. No visitor or employee injuries have been reported. The following summarizes reports submitted from all affected areas:
  • American Memorial/War in the Pacific - There was a two-and-a-half foot surge on Saipan and a half foot surge on Guam.
  • Hawaii Volcanoes - No known injuries or damage.
  • USS Arizona - The park was closed from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. on Friday while awaiting notice of further possible surges, It subsequently reopened.
  • Pu`uhonua o Honaunau and Kaloko Honkohau - The parks continue to assess tsunami-related damage. The tsunami overtopped walls and surged inland hundreds of feet at both parks. At Kaloko Honokohaum the unimproved road to Kaloko Fishpond remains closed as the coastal trail and parking area at the pond have been damaged and debris covers the parking area and picnic areas. Pu`uhonua o Honaunau will remain closed indefinitely as resource crews assess damage to the park and begin clearing debris. The tsunami surges entered the palace grounds and shore fishponds throughout the day, scattering marine debris and coastal vegetation throughout park grounds. Damage to park features has yet to be determined and significant debris is blocking safe access into the park.
  • Haleakala - The Kipahulu area closed during the event. There's no report yet of any damage.
  • Kalaupapa - During the early hours of Friday morning, 56 residents of the Kalaupapa community, including a number of patients from the care facility, were evacuated to a location a mile inland. No damage to park resources or facilities has been reported.
  • Alaska Region - The massive earthquake and possibility of a tsunami led to several precautionary measures to Alaska, but in the end no real effects from the quake and subsequent tsunami were felt. In Sitka (Sitka NHP), some precautionary evacuations were made in the town and the city airport was closed briefly but soon reopened. Elsewhere in Alaska, only small waves and stronger and unusual currents were expected, and were soon seen in the Aleutian Islands. Dutch Harbor (ALEU) reported an 18 inch surge in water levels. The outer coasts of Katmai, Kenai Fjords, and Lake Clark also may have been slightly impacted.
  • Olympic - No impacts - the surge there was less than a foot.
  • Redwood - Tsunami waves began hitting beaches around 8 a.m. on Friday. Initially, the waves were not as large as expected, but subsequent waves grew in size and caused significant damage to the local harbor in Crescent City. Additional large waves as high as eight feet were predicted throughout the day, but never realized. By early Friday evening, the evacuation order for Crescent City was lifted. The headquarters facility in downtown Crescent City was unaffected, and only some minor debris was deposited in one picnic area parking lot. More remote areas are being checked, but little or no damage is anticipated. Park staff were intimately involved in the emergency response to this incident, assisting in the evacuation of Crescent City, local beaches, and remote beaches both inside and adjacent to the park. Rangers worked with IT staff to safeguard critical electronic systems at HQ, and provided assistance to local emergency personnel throughout the day. Only one fatality has been reported - an instance in which a person ignored warnings to stay off the beach and was swept out to sea while taking photographs of the incoming wave front. This happened at the mouth of the Klamath River on an inholding within the park. Crescent City harbor, which is adjacent to the park, was heavily damaged by the extreme currents caused by the surges. Most of the harbor's docks were destroyed, about 10 boats were sunk, and over 30 boats severely damaged. In the midst of this incident, rangers in the park's South District also performed a medical/SAR carryout of two individuals from the Lady Bird Johnson trail with assistance from California Department of Forestry work crews and Orick Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Point Reyes - There were no impacts to the park.
  • Golden Gate - There were closures throughout the park from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., at which point all beaches from Stinson to Rodeo were reopened. Closures continued for some time along all beaches in San Francisco County, including Fort Point, China Beach, Baker Beach, Ocean Beach and Fort Funston. Rangers and U.S. Park Police officers coordinated operations with San Francisco PD. Only slight surges occurred, due largely to the fact that they occurred during low tide.
  • Santa Monica Mountains - No known impacts.
  • Channel Islands - No known impacts. Employees were temporarily evacuated and vessels launched to open ocean as a precaution.
avatar Two Hawaiian Parks Continue Recovery From Tsunami
March 15, 2011 12:47PM
Pacific Coastline Parks
Two Hawaiian Parks Continue Recovery From Tsunami

Park staff at Pu`uhonua o Honaunau and Kaloko Honokohau National Historical Parks continue to assess damage to park resources, trails, and coastal areas caused by Friday's tsunami, which entered into the parks' near coastal regions, overtopping walls and surging inland hundreds of feet.
  • Pu`uhonua o Honaunau - Much of the park remains closed as resource crews assess damage and begin clearing debris. Visitors at present are able to access limited areas of the park, including the visitor center, paved parking area, the amphitheater, and the canoe halau. The royal grounds, pu`uhonua, picnic area, coastal and 1871 trails all remain closed to entry. Tsunami surges entered the royal grounds and fish ponds throughout the day on March 11th, scattering marine debris and coastal vegetation throughout park grounds.
  • Kaloko Honkohau - The unimproved road to Kaloko Fishpond remains closed as the coastal trail, picnic and parking area at the pond have been damaged and debris cover the ground far inland. The Hale Ho`okipa visitor contact station along Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway remains open daily to provide visitors information about the park and safe access paths to the coastal regions.
avatar Tsunami Recovery Continues In Two Hawaiian Parks
March 28, 2011 11:22AM
Damage assessments are still underway at the two parks in Hawaii most impacted by the March 11th tsunami - Pu`uhonua o Honaunau NHP and Kaloko Honokohau NHP. Parts of both parks remain closed. Here's a status report:
  • Pu`uhonua o Honaunau NHP - Initial assessments by park cultural resource staff members and archaeologists on detail through the Cultural Resources Emergency Response Team (CRERT) have identified nine management units that were impacted by the March 11th tsunami. Several sites and features have sustained damage, including collapsed, breached, and bulging walls, eroding cultural deposits, and washed out sections of trail. About 80% of the sand and fill material present in the Royal Grounds area of the park was either removed or displaced by the tsunami surges. Initial damage assessments of four of the park's management units have been completed to date. Park archaeologists and CRERT members are surveying the high visitor use areas of the park and are working to clear other sections of the park so that they can be reopened. The Royal Grounds, Pu`uhonua, and Paumoa coastal areas all remain closed due to on-going damage assessments. The park's picnic area and the historic 1871 Trail which traverses the length of the park are open to the public. The park would like to express its gratitude to Dr. David Louter, PWR chief of cultural resources, and other key regional and national staff who have supported the park's emergency operations.
  • Kaloko Honokohau NHP - The majority of the park has been reopened to public access. The coastal trail remains closed with approximately 5150 cubic feet of damage at two separate sections along the trail. Damage to these sections includes collapse of retaining walls, disturbance of masonry walls, and complete removal of the tread to surrounding areas. The Kaloko Fishpond wall sustained damage from the tsunami at seven separate points, including damage to the capping on top of the wall, collapse of the edge of the wall, and severe erosion of the sand bank on the pond side of the wall. Approximately 2,310 cubic feet of the wall was damaged and about 6,300 cubic feet of the sand bank was disturbed. The Kaloko picnic area sustained damage in at least four different areas with approximately 525 cubic feet of damage to portions of the west wall of the main enclosure and removal of sand in approximately 19,425 square feet of area within and west of the main enclosure. The Kaloko road and picnic area have been assessed, cleaned of debris and opened to the public.
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