An outdoor amphitheater, a new visitor center and housing for employees could be some of the features in store for Haleakala National Park's Kipahulu District.
The features are just some of the alternatives proposed in the park's Kipahulu Comprehensive Site Plan, which will identify the overall direction for the future management of the area, which gets approximately 550,000 to 750,000 visitors per year.
"It's a busy place," said Sarah Creachbaum, superintendent of Haleakala National Park.
The Kipahulu District includes areas makai to mauka that feature fishing sites, waterfalls, hiking trails and campgrounds.
Park officials are accepting public comments on draft alternatives for the site plan and will be holding public meetings next week to discuss the plan and accept comments.
Three draft alternatives for the park have been developed from comments made by park staff and members of the public during meetings in 2009 and 2010.
Kipahulu Comprehensive Site Plan meetings
Meetings will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the following locations:
* Tuesday, Helene Hall, Hana
* Wednesday, Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, Pukalani
* Thursday, Kipahulu Visitor Center
Alternatives and information on the plan can be found at: www.nps.gov/hale
Comments may be sent to: parkplanning.nps.gov/hale
Written comments may be sent to:
Haleakala National Park
P.O. Box 369, Makawao 96768
Comments are due Oct. 5. For more information, call 572-4402.
After the public comment period, which ends Oct. 5, the alternatives may be refined, dismissed from further consideration, or new alternatives may be considered, according to a note from Creachbaum in the plan.
Topics for consideration in the plan include protection of resources, visitor experience and safety and location of operational facilities, utilities and sustainability.
"I want the public to really comment on what they're thinking," Creachbaum said. "I know that everyone is very busy these days, I appreciate everyone's interest in the park."
Taking no action at the park is among a list of alternatives.
In another alternative, plans call for construction of an outdoor amphitheater next to a new visitor center.
Creachbaum said public comments and staff analysis will determine what will or will not be constructed at the park. But she said that if the amphitheater were built, it could be used by the community for things such as ukulele festivals and other gatherings.
Another suggestion is to build a new, larger visitor center on site or in Hana.
Creachbaum said that if the center were built in Hana, it would be a location to educate visitors long before they enter the Kipahulu area.
Currently, the visitor center in Kipahulu is a "small wooden structure with a deck," the plan says.
Another consideration for the park is constructing up to three homes for employees.
Creachbaum said that it's not unusual to have employee housing in national parks because it makes it easier for staff members to respond to after-hours emergencies. She said Haleakala National Park has housing for some of its employees near the mountain's summit.
Other alternatives in the plan include some new trails such as from the overflow parking area to the main visitor area and a trail connecting the restrooms to the new visitor center.
There also could be a trail from the Pipiwai trailhead to the new visitor center. The closed Pipiwai Loop trail east of the gulch could be open for visitor use.
The Puhilele Point fishing access road also could be reopened and improved for vehicles under one of the alternatives.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.