New Maunakea Administrative Rules Unpacked

Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

PC: University of Hawai‘i.

The Office of Maunakea Management on Monday released a guide to the administrative rules for public activities for UH managed lands on Maunakea. The rules took effect on Jan. 23, 2020.

These rules are the result of an iterative process involving several redrafts incorporating public feedback received during community outreach events, meetings and public hearings held over the years, an OMKM press release said.

The rules, as required by statute, are also consistent with rules of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) whose lands surround the University’s and comport with the State Auditor’s recommendation calling for rules to protect the resources by managing human activities.


The purpose of the rules is to provide for the proper use, management and protection of cultural, natural and scientific resources; to promote public safety and welfare by regulating public and commercial activities within the UH management areas; and to ensure safe and appropriate access to the UH management areas by the public, the release continued.

The rules are not about restricting access, but instead managing access for the protection of the resources and health and safety of those visiting Maunakea, OMKM said.

Some of the highlights of the rules are presented below:


Visiting Maunakea

  • All those visiting and working on Maunakea will be required to undergo an orientation to gain an awareness of the cultural significance of Maunakea and its unique and special resources, and how to visit the mountain safety and respectfully.
  • Fees collected from permits, parking, etc., shall be deposited into the Mauna Kea Lands Management Special Fund to be used only for management purposes.

Rules Centered on Preservation of the Resources

  • Similar to the DLNR’s rules, the  of which purpose is about protecting and preserving resources, UH’s rules allow access but disallow activities that will harm the resources.
  • Removing or disturbing plant or animal life, or natural features is prohibited.
  • Hiking or conducting activities on cinder cones unless on designated trails or roads is prohibited.
  • Interfering with scientific and educational operations of research equipment, including astronomical facilities such as the use of radio transmitters, two-way radios, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices and cell phones, except for emergency purposes or when in airplane mode, is prohibited.

Other Prohibited Activities

  • Littering, starting or maintaining a fire and camping.
  • Possession or use of fireworks, firecrackers or explosive devices of any kind, firearms, bows and arrows, and other weapons except with a DLNR hunting permit.
  • Possession or use of hazardous materials.
  • Use of drugs or alcohol; smoking and tobacco use.
  • Possession of animals, except for hunting dogs.

Snow play

  • Snow play may be restricted or limited to designated areas to maintain public safety, prevent damage to resources, or to minimize use conflicts.
  • Formally or informally organized contests or other similar snow play events are prohibited.
  • Use of snowmobiles or other motorized vehicles for snow recreation are not allowed.

Vehicles and transportation

  • All vehicles are required to drive within posted speed limits.
  • Use of two-wheel vehicles north of Halepōhaku are prohibited; two-wheel vehicles propelled by peddling requires registration.
  • Driving or operating any type of vehicle other than on designated roads or trails is prohibited.
  • Launching or landing any air conveyances such as gliders, parachutes, balloons, drones or air toys of any kind are prohibited.
  • No parking along roadways except in designated areas.
  • Vehicles may be towed to a place of storage if left unattended in closed areas, left longer than 48 hours, or causing a safety hazard.

In all cases where an activity is prohibited, an exemption may be requested by applying for a special use permit. These applications will be evaluated based on the use, compatibility with management plans, existing uses and activities, and impacts to the resources.

A complete list of HAR Title 20 rules for Public and Commercial Activities on Mauna Kea Lands can be found online.

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments