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Open Houses Scheduled for Mauna Kea Input

Posted June 16, 2015, 09:11 AM HST
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University of Hawai'i file courtesy photo.

Community input regarding administrative rules for the University of Hawai’i’s managed lands on Mauna Kea will be the highlight of public open houses hosted by the Office of Mauna Kea Management in Kona, Hilo, and Waimea.

The purpose of the administrative rules falls into accordance with the Hawai’i State Legislature Act 132, “to provide proper protection of the natural, cultural, and scientific resources and maintain public safety and welfare.”

“These open houses in three locations around the island will allow us to get the community’s thoughts on rules that will help OMKM meet challenges it faces regarding resource protection and public safety. Following the open houses, the Office of Mauna Kea Management will draft administrative rules for public review and comment before approval by the appropriate agencies,” said OMKM Director Stephanie Nagata. “Once approved, the rules will be the enforcement mechanism that protects the cultural, natural and scientific resources, and public health and safety on UH’s managed lands on Mauna Kea.”

During the open houses, OMKM will provide exhibits on suggested rules. In addition, the meeting will provide time to discuss authority, purpose, and consistency with the Department of Land and Natural Resources rules relating to Mauna Kea, protection of Native Hawaiian rights, public activities, safety concerns, permits, and administration and enforcement.

Open houses will begin at 5 p.m. and last until 7:30 p.m. on three different dates:

Kona: West Hawai’i Civic Center, Tuesday, June 23.

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Hilo: ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, Wednesday, June 24.

Waimea: Kuhio Hale, DHHL West Hawai’i District Office, Thursday, June 25.

OMKM was established by the University of Hawai’i at Hilo Chancellor in 2000. The Board of Regents established the Mauna Kea Management Board that same year. Later, OMKM established Kahu Ku Mauna, which is a council of Hawaiian cultural resource individuals who serve as advisors.

The purpose of OMKM is to handle the daily management of Mauna Kea Science Reserve, which is outlined in the Master Plan. The Master Plan has established management guidelines for the next 20 years in the area. Within the Master Plan are the community’s deeply rooted concerns over the use of Mauna Kea, which includes cultural beliefs, environment protection, recreational use, and astronomy research.

Those interested in learning more about the open houses or in the rulemaking process should contact OMKM by calling 933-0734 or e-mailing omkm@hawaii.edu.

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