09/09/15 – DLNR Extends Public Comment Period For Draft Master Plan, EIS for Ha‘ena State Park

Posted on Sep 9, 2015 in News Releases, State Parks

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
News Release

DAVID Y. IGE
GOVERNOR
SUZANNE D. CASE
CHAIRPERSON

For Immediate News Release September 9, 2015

DLNR EXTENDS PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD FOR
DRAFT MASTER PLAN, EIS FOR HA‘ENA STATE PARK
Comments will be accepted through October 8, 2015

LIHU‘E, KAUA‘I —  The Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of State Parks will continue to accept public comments on the Master Plan and EIS for Ha‘ena State Park through October 8, 2015.  The legal public comment period ended today, but is being extended in response to requests from the public to allow more time to review the large and complex document which sets a course for the future of the heavily-visited north shore state park. 

A public meeting held in Hanalei on August 19, 2015 to present the plan to the public attracted nearly 300 attendees, many of whom felt that there was not enough time to adequately review the plan and provide comments by the September 8 deadline. 

Additional written requests for more time have been received by DLNR.  “We believe it is important for the public to have additional time to digest and provide quality feedback to improve the plan, so we are extending the comment period at this time,” said Curt Cottrell, newly selected State Parks Administrator.

The Division of State Parks and PBR Hawai‘i, its consultant for the Ha‘ena State Park master plan and environmental impact statement (EIS), have worked collaboratively with the community to develop and refine a master plan for the park.  As part of the master planning process, a 32-member master plan advisory committee (MPAC) was established to help refine a community preferred plan, focusing on the cultural and historical significance of the area.  

The MPAC is comprised of kupuna, Ha‘ena ‘ohana, cultural practitioners, the Hui Maka‘ainana o Makana, and representatives from organizations such as the Hanalei Watershed Hui, Hanalei Hawaiian Civic Club, Hanalei-Ha‘ena Community Association, Hanalei Roads Committee, Limahuli Garden Preserve, Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau, Kaua‘i North Shore Business Council, Princeville Community Association, Kayak Kaua‘i, and government agencies such as Office of Hawaiian Affairs, County of Kaua‘i Planning Department and Department of Transportation, Highways Division.  

One of the recommendations proposed is to implement a daily visitor limit of 900, which is less than half of the current peak visitation.  This does not include cultural practitioners, special user groups such as halau, lo‘i work groups, nor hikers with permits to the Kalalau trail and hunters with valid hunting permits.  Hā‘ena is among the most heavily visited parks in the Hawai‘i State Park system, resulting in parking and vehicle congestion affecting the significant natural and cultural resources that make it so desirable a place to visit.  

In the near term plan, for the public’s safety, an interpretive corridor is being proposed for makai of the highway, that will connect to a welcome pavilion to Kē‘ē Beach and take people away from a rockfall hazard area.  The corridor consists of a pathway that will traverse the taro lo‘i being cultivated by members of the Hui Maka‘ainana o Makana.  The proposed welcome pavilion is a way to manage access to the park and to provide visitors with an orientation session that seeks to inform and educate them about the resources in the area.

The draft EIS is currently available for download on the Division of State Parks website (http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/announcements/).  Comments should be sent by October 8, 2015 to Lauren Tanaka, Division of State Parks, 1151 Punchbowl St., Room 310, Honolulu, HI  96813 or by email to:  Lauren.A.Tanaka@hawaii.gov or to Kimi Yuen, PBR Hawaii, 1001 Bishop St., Suite 650, Honolulu, HI  96813 with email: kyuen@pbrhawaii.com.  To receive a written response, please include your full name and mailing address if sending comments by email.

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News media contact:

Deborah Ward
DLNR Communications specialist
Phone: (808) 587-0320