March 8, 2017
The Office of Maunakea Management Announces a Public Comment Period for a Draft Environmental Assessment

The public is invited to comment on a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for Infrastructure Improvements at Maunakea Visitor Information Station (VIS). The University of Hawai'i Hilo is proposing a set of infrastructure improvements at Halepōhaku to accommodate and address the increase in the number of visitors to the mountain; ensure the safety of visitors and workers; prevent unintended impacts to natural, historic, and cultural resources on the Halepōhaku and adjacent parcels; and comply with the Board of Land & Natual Resources (BLNR)-approved Maunakea Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP). The Proposed Action includes: a new means of ingress and egress for vehicles to the VIS, a new access lane and parking area, paving of an unimproved path to provide access from the new parking area to the VIS, drainage features, a greenhouse, and relocation of a cabin. Project activities would occur on the University's leased lands. The access to the ingress/egress and the new parking area would be through access points identified in the Halepōhaku parcel lease.


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Improving traffic conditions and visitor access to the VIS is important to maintaining a safe experience for visitors and workers. The CMP states that for safety reasons, all parking should be on the same side of the road as existing Halepōhaku facilities. The proposed infrastructure changes improve access and safety for visitors and workers by adding ingress and egress routes that facilitate traffic flow and building a new VIS Parking Area. The purpose of the project is to replace unsafe, ad hoc, road shoulder parking that is resulting in degraded conditions, and provide for safe access to the VIS from the new parking lot.

The public comment period runs 30 days from March 8, 2017 to April 7, 2017. The Draft EA can be accessed online at: http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/EA_and_EIS_Online_Library/Hawaii/2010s/2017-03-08-HA-5B-DEA-Maunakea-Visitor-Information-Station-Improvements.pdf. Comments may be submitted via email to: comments@srgii.com or via regular mail to: Attention: Maunakea VIS Infrastructure Improvements Draft EA Comments, Office of Maunakea Management, 640 N. A'ohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720.

There will also be an opportunity to comment on the proposed project's Conservation District Use Application, which is one of the required permits for implementation. The Application and its corresponding public comment period will be announced in a future edition of the Office of Environmental Quality Control's "The Environmental Notice" and posted for review on the Department of Land and Natural Resources Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands website.
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ABOUT     

The Office of Maunakea Management is charged with day-to-day management of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve as prescribed in the Master Plan. The adoption of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve Master Plan by the University of Hawaii Board of Regents in June 2000 marked a critical milestone in the management of Maunakea.

 

Meetings and public hearings spanning a period of nearly two years went into the formulation of the Master Plan, which established management guidelines for the next 20 years. The Master Plan reflected the community's deeply rooted concerns over the use of Maunakea, including respect for Hawaiian cultural beliefs, protection of environmentally sensitive habitat, recreational use of the mountain, and astronomy research.   

  

It places the focus of responsibility with the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH). The UH-Hilo Chancellor established the Office of Maunakea Management and the Board of Regents established the Maunakea Management Board in the fall of 2000. The Maunakea Management Board in turn formed Kahu Ku Mauna, a council comprised of Hawaiian cultural resource persons to serve as advisors.
OMKM Mission

To achieve harmony, balance and trust in the sustainable management and stewardship of Mauna Kea Science Reserve through community involvement and programs that protect, preserve and enhance the natural, cultural and recreational resources of Maunakea while providing a world-class center dedicated to education, research and astronomy.

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