Maunakea Access Road to Reopen Saturday

December 26, 2019, 12:26 PM HST (Updated December 26, 2019, 1:56 PM)
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Maunakea Access Road will reopen to general public on Dec. 28, according to Hawai‘i County officials this afternoon.

Protectors, or the kia‘i, have agreed to move the kūpuna tent off to the side of the main road until February.

The Mauna Medic Healers Hui posted on Facebook that the protectors secured a commitment from Mayor Harry Kim to place a two-month moratorium on any law enforcement action and TMT construction.

“In return we will open the road to the public, but maintain a strong presence,” the post indicates. “The Kupuna tent and all ceremony will remain, but to the side of the main Mauna Kea access road.
If we see any movement by TMT or Law enforcement, we will have the ability to be right back on the road, immediately.”

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The Mauna Medic Healers are a group of healthcare professionals and volunteers who provide medical treatment for those in need while on the mountain.

Mayor Harry Kim announced today that the Maunakea Access Road is temporarily closed to the public as the road is being cleared to make it completely accessible to the public.

“Under an agreement with the protectors, the clearing operation will involve the collaborative efforts of State and County agencies working together with the protectors,” a release from the mayor’s office states.

The road reopening comes a week after Gov. David Ige has announced an indefinite withdrawal of state law enforcement from Maunakea, citing the Thirty Meter Telescope’s intention not to immediately move forward with construction on the mountain.

“We have been informed that the Thirty Meter Telescope will not be proceeding with construction at this time,” Ige said in a press conference that began a little after 11 a.m. on Dec. 19. “So we have made a decision that we will be withdrawing our personnel so that they can enjoy the holidays with everyone else.”

Maunakea Access Road has been blocked since August by demonstrators called the kia‘i in an effort to halt construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

The kia‘i took the position that building another telescope on top of Maunakea would further desecrate the sacred mauna.

During the road closure these next few days, access will be limited to telescope personnel, ranchers, conservation workers, hunters and cultural practitioners, as previously arranged, the Mayor said. The County of Hawai‘i appreciates everyone’s cooperation and understanding of the temporary closure.

Kim added it’s his hope that during this peaceful time that conversation with state officials and protectors will continue.

The road will reopen to the general public on Dec. 28. This date coincides with the reopening of the Hale Pohaku Visitor Center.

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