Islands Coral Reef Program
First Decade of the Parks' Coral Reef Program
early years the Pacific National Parks were "terrestrial" parks. Their
boundaries ended at the shoreline. The original Hawaii National Park and The City
of Refuge were established specifically because of live volcanoes and Hawaiian
archeology. But, beginning in the 1970's most new national parks in the Pacific
extended into the sea--well beyond the reefs. Yet, we thought these as benign
seas--wild shorelines and beaches, scenically beautiful, with "inexhaustible"
resources less complicated and demanding than terrestrial island ecosystems with
endangered species components and huge resource preservation problems.
decade ago, with the advent of a national "Coral Reef Initiative," the
Pacific National Parks hired small crews of marine scientists as an NPS component
of the "Initiative." NPS placed marine ecologists at War-in-the Pacific,
Samoa, Kalaupapa, and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Parks, and one at the
UH Manoa CESU. They looked beneath the ocean surface--perhaps as a first time
for the National Parks in the Pacific.
first revelation was of awe and amazement--even enrapture--at the sheer beauty
and enormous biodiversity of these park waters. View the
parks' first impressions:
of Hawaii -
National Park Service