- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 22, 2007

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, Hawaii (AP) — Rangers are starting a program to stop people from leaving religious offerings at the summit of Mount Kilauea — including food they say attracts rats and cockroaches.

Visitors leave 45 pounds of offerings at Halemaumau Crater each week, including flowers, bottles, money, incense, candles and crystals, park rangers say.

But food offerings are the most problematic.

“The accumulation of rotting food and foliage attracts rats, flies, ants and cockroaches,” a park service statement said.

One ranger recently found a whole, cooked piglet replete with a papaya, orange and apple in a cardboard box, the park service said.

The rotting offerings pose a hazard to the endangered nene goose, the state bird, the park service said.

People also burn fake money, which in Chinese culture is meant to aid people in the afterlife. Such fires are illegal, the park service said.

Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando said the park must preserve the summit area, which has special significance in Hawaiian culture.

Some Hawaiians believe lava is the physical representation of the fire goddess Pele, making the volcano summit sacred.

“We look to our partners and local communities to assist us in communicating the value of resource protection and cultural sensitivity,” Miss Orlando said.

Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, has been in continuous eruption since Jan. 3, 1983.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide