HALEAKALA NATIONAL PARK - Officials at Haleakala National Park announced Thursday the end of the lottery system used for years to select cabin users in the crater.
Starting with September, all reservations for the wilderness cabins will be taken over the phone up to three months ahead of the reservation, on a first-come, first-reserved basis. Calls for reservations will only be accepted between 1 and 3 p.m. HST daily at 572-4400.
As of midday Thursday, there were no openings in August for any of the three cabins in Haleakala Crater.
Holua Cabin sits on the west-side wall of the crater, along the Halemauu Trail.
Haleakala National Park photo
Park public information officer Dominic Cardea said the decision to end the lottery system was reached after staff members found they were getting the same results whether they used the lottery or not.
The park maintains three cabins in the crater: Holua along the Halemauu Trail, Kapalaoa along the south wall and Paliku on the east end of the crater.
Under the lottery system, applications for cabin reservations were mailed in at least three months ahead of time. The names of individuals interested in a cabin reservation were selected randomly on the first of the month. Successful applicants were notified and required to post a deposit for the number of people using the cabin.
Typically, when an individual cancels a reservation, the staff picks another name randomly and calls the selected person to ask whether there's interest in the vacancy.
With the call-in system, applicants who aren't able to get a reservation they want will be advised to call again to check if there are any cancellations for the dates.
Cardea said park staff believes the call-reservation system will be more efficient than the lottery.
The park is working with a vendor to develop an online cabin reservation system that may go into effect sometime this fall.
For now, early reservations for the cabins may be made three months out from the day of the telephone call. Cabin fees are $75 per night, with the typical group staying two to three nights at a time. Each cabin can house a party of as many as 12 people. Payments for reservations will require a credit card.
If a reservation is canceled, a $10 fee is charged and the rest of the money is returned.
Individuals who fill a vacancy within three weeks of cabin use are charged $65 a night and will not receive a refund for any cancellation.
Cabin users are required to view an eight-minute video on the park prior to checking in. The video may be viewed at the time users pick up cabin keys, either from the park headquarters at the 7,000-foot level or at the summit.
For more information about cabin reservations, visit the Haleakala National Park Web site at nps.gov/hale.