Kauai News

Comment Sought on Draft of New Maunakea Master Plan

Posted September 14, 2021, 8:00 AM HST ·Updated September 14, 6:39 AM

The University of Hawaiʻi is seeking broad community feedback on a draft of a new Maunakea Master Plan that will guide land-use decisions on UH-managed Maunakea lands.

The overarching goals of the plan are to reduce impacts to the natural resources, especially in the summit region, by limiting development; to create a better balance among cultural, environmental, scientific and recreational interests; and to broaden Native Hawaiian and community participation in planning and programming.

“The University of Hawaiʻi is privileged to be among the stewards of Maunakea, and this plan is responsive to the many values and obligations that we as an institution have for managing public lands,” said CMS Executive Director Greg Chun. “Everyone has a legitimate interest in what happens to these lands and how they are utilized. We strongly encourage everyone to play a role in this master plan’s development and tell us what they think.”

The existing Master Plan was adopted in 2000 and established the Maunakea Management Board and Kahu Kū Mauna community volunteer advisory groups. The 2000 Master Plan covered facility design standards, the project review process for proposed land uses on Maunakea, and roadway improvements/modifications.

The draft of the new plan, Master Plan for the University of Hawai‘i Maunakea Lands; E Ō I Ka Leo (Listen to the Voice), will serve as a framework for aligning land-use decisions, management actions and educational programs that strengthen a sense of, and connection to, the mauna.

Key highlights of the plan include:

  • Fortification of UH’s commitment of no more than nine operating astronomy facilities on Maunakea by December 31, 2033.
  • Providing mechanisms to seek and consider input from the native Hawaiian community and the broader community in the decision-making framework.
  • Support for the UH Hilo Educational Telescope at Halepōhaku (the mid-level facility).
  • Establishing a UH Hilo-led “Multi-disciplinary Field Station” at Halepōhaku to support field studies and learning experiences across disciplines.
  • Maintaining the Maunakea Observatories’ status as world leaders in astronomy.

Activities like hunting, gathering, recreation and traditional and customary practices are activities addressed in the Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP), which is being updated.

The draft 122-page Master Plan also incorporates the management changes adopted over the past two decades including Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) approval of the CMP in 2009; the four CMP sub-plans (relating to public access, cultural resources management, natural resources management and observatory decommissioning); the administrative rules for public and commercial activities in 2020, and the establishment of the UH Hilo Center for Maunakea Stewardship (CMS) in 2020. CMS is responsible for administering both management plans and administrative rules.

Chun will participate in a virtual public meeting with the new Master Plan tentatively scheduled for Oct. 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. More information will be announced by Monday, Sept. 20.

The public is encouraged to review and submit comments on the draft plan, which can be done here.

Comments and recommendations may be made online, via telephone messages and US Postal Service. The Maunakea Master Plan website also has contact information and instructions on how to prepare and send comments via each of these methods. UH is accepting input on this draft plan through Oct. 26, 2021.

All public comments/feedback will be taken into consideration as the draft is amended before going to the UH Board of Regents for review and possible further changes before final approval, which is expected in early 2022.

 
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