100 land parcels considered for Hawaiʻi nature reserve systems; public input sought
The Hawaiʻi State Department of Land and Natural Resources is seeking comments on a proposal to protect nearly 100 unencumbered state land parcels across Hawai’i as part of the State Forest Reserves, Natural Area Reserves and Wildlife Sanctuaries systems.
The parcels include more than 21,000 acres of land, with 18,630 acres proposed for forest reserves, 2,192 acres for natural area reserves and 196 acres proposed for wildlife sanctuaries.
Comment also is being sought to update administrative rules associated with the Natural Area Reserves System. Both proposals are being shared online and in meetings to collect people’s input.
The proposed parcels are state lands not currently managed for environmental protection or any particular land use. New land designations will allow the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife to protect these parcels and provide areas for conservation, preservation, recreation and sustainable forest products. Activities on these parcels could include the protection of endangered species habitat, cultural site preservation, forest restoration and access for hiking or hunting.
The state Division of Forestry and Wildlife also is proposing updates to administrative rules for the Natural Area Reserves System. The amendments would improve the protection of reserves by modifying prohibited activities and penalties, allowing longer-term special use permits, adjusting parking fees for non-residents, managing commercial usage similar to the Nā Ala Hele Trails and Access program, extending the closure of areas and restricting access to off-trail areas.
Input from community members can be provided in multiple ways: online via the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife website, via mail or in person at a DOFAW office, or at upcoming hearings. Comments are due by March 1, 2023.
Proposals, maps, online commenting, and instructions for mail-in or in-person comments: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dofaw/comment/. Click on open in another browser on the map to see the locations better.
On Maui, there are several proposed land parcels near the West Maui Forest Reserve, a land parcel near the Makawao Forest Reserve, a few parcels near Hana, and others near the West Maui Natural Area Reserve.
Informational meetings schedule:
Online: Jan. 18, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. via Zoom
Meeting ID: 815 0847 7808; Passcode: y19hjR
Online: Feb. 15, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. via Zoom
Meeting ID: 816 9683 3617; Passcode: QrVz0G
In person: Jan. 9, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Kalanimoku Building, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Honolulu, HI,96813, Room 132
In person: Jan. 19, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m
Kaua’i Veterans Center, 3215 Kapule Hwy, Lihue, HI 96766, Purple Heart Conference Room
Online: January 23, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. via Zoom (NARS Rules updates)
Meeting ID: 867 6219 3841; Passcode: W47GsY