East Hawaii News

UPDATE: DLNR Proposes Restrictions to Mauna Kea Access

July 7, 2015, 8:12 AM HST
* Updated July 7, 11:38 AM
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*** Updated at 11:35 a.m. to include statements from Attorney General Doug Chin and Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairperson Suzanne Case. ***

Attorney General Doug Chin commented on the new emergency rule, proposed to be implemented on Mauna Kea.

The Board of Land and Natural Resources will consider the emergency rule at its regularly scheduled meeting on Friday.

Nighttime hours and other camping-related restrictions are within the rule.

“In recent weeks dozens of people have camped on the grounds or remained parked in cars for prolonged periods, either on or near the access road to Mauna Kea.  Boulders and rock walls have been placed on the road.  Invasive species have been introduced.  Unauthorized toilets have been placed on the grounds.  Individuals remaining in the area have reportedly caused visitors and workers to feel harassed.  Consumption of water, which must be trucked up the mountain, is at record high usage.  All of this has occurred in a partially graveled, steeply graded area without markings or guardrails,” Attorney General Chin explained in a statement Tuesday morning.

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Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairperson Suzanne Case also commented on that matter, saying “The Department of Land and Natural Resources has been delegated the power and duty to manage and regulate all lands which may be set apart as game management areas, public hunting areas, and wildlife sanctuaries.  The Department is authorized to promulgate rules to carry out these duties.  These rules concern the preservation, protection, regulation, extension, and utilization of, and conditions for entry into wildlife sanctuaries, game management areas, and public hunting areas.”

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***Original story posted at 8:12 a.m.***

Proposed amendments to the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry & Wildlife Administrative Rules will be reviewed Friday by the Land Board.

The proposed amendments to Section 13-123-21.2, Prohibited Activities, will aim to limit access to portions of Mauna Kea near the access road.

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In the proposed addition, the DLNR clarifies the area covered by the overall rule as “any lands within one mile of the Mauna Kea Observatory Access Road.” The rules are referred to as the “restricted area” throughout the section.

Proposed amendments continue, saying that “No person shall at any time bring in to the restricted area or possess or control in the restricted area any of the following items: backpack, tents, blankets, tarpaulins, or other obvious camping paraphernalia.”

In addition, “No person shall enter or remain in the restricted area during the hours of 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., except to the extent the person is transiting through the restricted area in a motor vehicle on the Mauna Kea Observatory Access Road.”

The proposed rule changes follow months of disputes over construction of the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope. A group of TMT opponents have remained atop the mountain since April.

Last Wedneday, Ku Kiaʻi Mauna maintained that they are not camping.

“We are on the mauna to protect it, and its protection at this time requires constant vigilance. Our presence on the mauna will remain,” leader Kaho’okahi Kanuha said Wednesday at a press conference held in Honolulu.

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