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Kalahaku Overlook to see improvements

Haleakala National Park graphic

The Maui News

Haleakala National Park plans to improve the Silversword Trail and install two new viewing areas as part of upgrades to the Kalahaku Overlook at the crater’s 9,324-foot elevation.

The overlook is one of four locations in the park where visitors gather to watch sunrise and sunset and enjoy broad crater vistas. It provides unobstructed views east into the crater and west overlooking the island of Maui.

It currently consists of 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 is also a separate trail, delineated by a rock wall, west of the parking area that showcases a Haleakala silversword planting area. The overlook area contains designated critical habitat for the silversword, and sensitive species in the area also include the endangered ‘ua’u, or Hawaiian petrel.

The National Park Service had proposed changes to the overlook that would improve enjoyment and safety while protecting these natural and cultural resources.

A finding of no significant impact was signed late last month for the project’s environmental assessment.

The plan that the park service will pursue includes improvements to existing features and the addition of open-air viewing areas as funding becomes available. It calls for:

• Additional trail delineations, installation of pathway lighting, installation of signage and improvements to the parking area.

• Improvements to the Silversword Trail, adjacent rock wall and stairs.

• Installation of two new viewing areas along the crater rim.

• Installation of an interpretive wayside exhibit that conforms to Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards code requirements.

The public can access a copy of the environmental assessment and decision document at the Planning, Environment and Public Comment website at parkplanning.nps.gov/overlook.