East Hawaii News

Mauna Kea Park Closing July 1 for Renovation

June 15, 2014, 9:45 AM HST
* Updated June 15, 9:52 AM
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Mauna Kea State Park on Saddle Road will be closing July 1 for renovations as the county takes over its operation.

Jason Armstrong, spokesman for the Department of Parks and Recreation, said the park, officially known as the Mauna Kea State Recreational Area, will be closed until further notice to expedite the work and ensure the public’s safety.

The closure means a temporary halting of overnight use of the park’s five cabins.

The project involves improvements to the park’s restrooms, parking lot and picnic area. The work being done by P&R and the Department of Public Works will require the use of heavy equipment.

During the closure, temporary restrooms will be available to the public at the administrative building near the park’s entrance.

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The park has the only public bathrooms available on the cross-island Saddle Road.

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The county is taking over the park, which will be renamed the Mauna Kea Recreation Area, following an agreement established in March with the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.

Mayor Billy Kenoi had sought county control of the park since 2010, saying he believed it could do a better job of maintaining the area than the state.

Two bills that would have transferred the park to the county were introduced in the Legislature last year but stalled in committee.

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In October 2013, the Division of State Parks began discussions with Hawaii County over the transfer of park through a “memorandum of agreement,” which was approved by the land board at its March 28 meeting.

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