NPS set to rehabilitate Kalahaku Overlook area

The National Park Service is proposing a plan to rehabilitate the Kalahaku Overlook at Haleakala National Park. Haleakala National Park photo

The National Park Service is proposing a plan to rehabilitate the Kalahaku Overlook at Haleakala National Park. Haleakala National Park photo

The Maui News

The National Park Service will host a public meeting from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss proposed plans to rehabilitate the 9,324-foot-elevation Kalahaku Overlook at Haleakala National Park.

The meeting will be held at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani, in the building next to the swimming pool.

Park staff will provide information about the plans, answer questions and take comments.

The plans require preparation of an environmental assessment. It will explore a range of project alternatives and evaluate ways to mitigate negative impacts.

Currently, the overlook facilities include a parking area, a vault toilet, four sets of mortared lava rock stairs and a trail to a partially enclosed structure that overlooks Haleakala Crater. There’s also a separate trail, west of the parking area, that showcases a silversword planting area.

Kalahaku Overlook is one of four park locations where people gather to watch sunrise and sunset and enjoy broad crater vistas.

Aside from maintaining the overlook as is, park officials are considering two other alternatives.

In one, there would be improvements to the Silversword Trail, including removal of asphalt and resurfacing with local rock and cinder. An adjacent rock wall would be repaired, and a crosswalk would be added to to indicate the best access to and from parking stalls. Plans also call for constructing one to three new viewing areas along the crater rim using local rock and cinder. Other plans would improve trail delineations, and install signs, barriers and a fully accessible platform area that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In the other alternative, there would be improvements to the Silversword Trail, just as in the first option. A structure would be built near the existing overlook structure for ranger-led and self-guided interpretation. And, trails would be more clearly delineated, and signs would be installed to inform visitors about threatened and endangered species.

The overlook gets several hundred visitors daily.

Public comments about the project may be made online at parkplanning.nps.gov/Overlook.

They may also be mailed to Haleakala National Park, Kalahaku Overlook Area Management EA, Attention: Linette King, P.O. Box 369, Makawao 96768. Email may be sent to HALE_Superintendent@nps.gov with the subject line “Kalahaku Overlook Area Management.”

People submitting comments should know their entire submittal, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available.

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