UH Seeking Public Input on Draft of New Maunakea Master Plan
The University of Hawaiʻi is seeking community feedback on a draft of the new Maunakea Master Plan that will guide land-use decisions on UH-managed Maunakea lands on Hawaiʻi Island.
The overarching goals of the 122-page plan:
- 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
- to broaden Native Hawaiian and community participation in planning and programming
The existing Master Plan was adopted in 2000 and established the Maunakea Management Board and Kahu Kū 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 draft of the new plan, Master Plan for the University of Hawai‘i Maunakea Lands; E Ō 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 Dec. 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 Halepōhaku (the mid-level facility).
- Establishing a UH Hilo-led “Multi-disciplinary Field Station” at Halepōhaku 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.
The draft Master Plan also incorporates the major management changes adopted over the past two decades, including:
- Board of Land and Natural Resources approval of the Comprehensive Management Plan in 2009
- the four CMP sub-plans (relating to public access, cultural resources management, natural resources management and observatory decommissioning)
- the administrative rules for public and commercial activities in 2020
- the establishment of the UH Hilo Center for Maunakea Stewardship (CMS) in 2020.
The Center for Maunakea Stewardship is responsible for administering both management plans and the administrative rules.
“The University of Hawaiʻi 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.”
Chun will participate in a virtual public meeting with the new Master Plan tentatively scheduled for Oct. 6 from 5 to 7 pm. More information will be announced by Sept. 20.
Review and submit comments
The public can review and provide comments directly to the draft at the Maunakea Master Plan website (https://maunakea.konveio.com/), an online platform that simplifies public review and engagement for greater convenience.
UH strongly encourages the public to utilize the Maunakea Master Plan website that also provides background information on the draft and multiple ways to provide feedback.
Comments and recommendations may be made online, via telephone messages and US Postal Service.
The Maunakea Master Plan website also has contact information and instructions on how to prepare and send comments via each of these methods. UH is accepting input on this draft plan through Oct. 26, 2021.
All public comments/feedback will be taken into consideration as the draft is amended before going to the UH Board of Regents for review and possibly further changes before final approval, which is expected in early 2022.