House Mauna Kea Working Group Submits Final Report
Recommends a new nine-member board to manage state-managed lands above the 6,500 foot elevation line
The Hawaii House of Representatives' Mauna Kea Working Group (Working Group) submitted its final report to Speaker Scott K. Saiki. The Working Group received hundreds of comments on its draft report.
The report recommends a new nine-member board to manage state-managed lands on Mauna Kea above the 6,500 foot elevation line. The board, guided by Native Hawaiian values, shall include government representatives, individuals with certain areas of expertise, and Native Hawaiian community members. While the astronomy community is not directly represented on the board, an astronomy advisory group is to be established to provide advice and guidance to the board. To ensure the protection and stewardship of Mauna Kea, the board shall develop a framework to limit astronomy development on Mauna Kea, including a plan to return the mauna above 9,200 feet elevation to its natural state.
The report also recommends prohibiting commercial use and activities above Hale Pohaku. In addition, an appropriate entryway to Mauna Kea shall be established to capture information about users, establish an educational outreach post, collect fees, and close access to Mauna Kea in case of an emergency. An application, including a fee, shall be required for all recreational users of Mauna Kea.
House Bill (HB) 2024 was introduced by Representatives Mark M. Nakashima, Ty J.K. Cullen, Stacelynn K.M. Eli, and David A. Tarnas, who participated in the Working Group. "We look encourage community members to express their thoughts about the proposal during the legislative session," said Rep. Nakashima, Chair of the Working Group.
The Mauna Kea Working Group was established by House Resolution 33, Session Laws of Hawaii 2021. The 15-member Working Group included legislators and key stakeholders, including seven Native Hawaiian community members.