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Maunakea Master Plan open for public input

The Maui News

The University of Hawaii is seeking community feedback on a new draft Maunakea Master Plan that will guide land-use decisions on UH-managed Maunakea lands.

The overarching goals of the plan are to reduce impacts to the natural resources, especially in the summit region, by limiting development; to create better balance among cultural, environmental, scientific and recreational interests; and to broaden Native Hawaiian and community participation in planning and programming, according to a news release.

UH is accepting input on this draft plan through October 26 before it goes to the UH Board of Regents for review and final approval, which is slated for the beginning of 2022.

“The University of Hawai’i is privileged to be among the stewards of Maunakea, and this plan is responsive to the many values and obligations that we as an institution have for managing public lands,” said CMS Executive Director Greg Chun. “Everyone has a legitimate interest in what happens to these lands and how they are utilized. We strongly encourage everyone to play a role in this master plan’s development and tell us what they think.”

The existing Master Plan was adopted in 2000 and established the Maunakea Management Board and Kahu Ku Mauna community volunteer advisory groups. The 2000 Master Plan covered facility design standards, the project review process for proposed land uses on Maunakea, and roadway improvements/modifications.

The 122-page draft of the new plan, Master Plan for the University of Hawai’i Maunakea Lands; E O I Ka Leo (Listen to the Voice), will serve as a framework for aligning land-use decisions, management actions and educational programs that strengthen a sense of, and connection to, the mauna.

Key highlights of the plan include:

• Fortification of UH’s commitment of no more than nine operating astronomy facilities on Maunakea by December 31, 2033.

• Providing mechanisms to seek and consider input from the native Hawaiian community and the broader community in the decision-making framework.

• Support for the UH Hilo Educational Telescope at Halepohaku (the mid-level facility).

• Establishing a UH Hilo-led “Multi-disciplinary Field Station” at Halepohaku to support field studies and learning experiences across disciplines.

• Maintaining the Maunakea Observatories’ status as world leaders in astronomy

Activities like hunting, gathering, recreation and traditional and customary practices are activities addressed in the Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP), which is being updated.

Chun will participate in a virtual public meeting with the new Master Plan tentatively scheduled for Oct. 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. More information will be announced in the coming weeks.

The public can review and provide comments directly to the draft at the Maunakea Master Plan website at https://maunakea.konveio.com. Comments and recommendations may be made online, via telephone messages and US Postal Service.

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