Increased Interest in Hawaiian Volcano Tours Leads to Increase in Noise Complaints, Report Says

A view of the summit lava lake at dusk on Feb 1, 2014. The lava lake is contained within a crater informally called the "Overlook" crater (due to its position immediately below the former Halemaʻumaʻu visitor overlook), and this crater is set within the larger Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The photo was taken from the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The lava lake is about 50 m (160 ft) below the rim of the Overlook crater. The level has dropped slightly the previous day, leaving a black veneer of lava on the crater walls just above the current margin and easily visible in this photograph.

A view of the summit lava lake at dusk at Kilauea Lava Lake. Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

Mayor of Hawaii County Harry Kim met with the state’s helicopter tour operators earlier this week to talk about noise, HawaiiNewsNow reported. According to the report, residents on the Big Island took to the streets Tuesday with signs, calling for an end to helicopter noise.

Instead of flying over the residential areas, the report said residents want the tour helicopters to fly over the ocean en route to Kilauea, an active volcano and popular tour site, or the airport.

“The majority of these issues are individual in nature,” HawaiiNewsNow reported Kim as saying. “One size will not fit all as far as regulations.”

Noise issues grew on the island as lava air tours have grown in popularity, the news report said. It continued, according to Kim, saying the tour companies agreed to attempt to work with residents in an effort to decrease unwanted noise. Kim reportedly plans to schedule a community meeting with all stakeholders.

Helicopter tour operators in that area include Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Safari Helicopters Hawaii and Sunshine Helicopters.

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