Board Authorizes Review of Proposed Maui Land Exchange

January 13, 2014, 7:17 AM HST · Updated January 13, 9:56 AM
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Overview of the two trails proposed for access agreements, the Haleakala Trail to the north, and the new access route to the reserves of leeward Haleakala to the south. Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Overview of the two trails proposed for access agreements, the Haleakalā Trail to the north, and the new access route to the reserves of leeward Haleakalā to the south. Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

By Wendy Osher

The Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday authorized archaeological and environmental reviews of an area covered by a proposed land exchange between the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and Haleakalā Ranch.

The proposed agreement was designed to ensure pubic access to the disputed Haleakala Bridle hiking trail, and create a new access route to the Kahikinui Forest Reserve and Nā Kula Natural Area Reserve on the leeward slopes.

The proposal also aims to stem further dispute over land ownership and public access issues.

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The approval is for further study of the transaction only, and still requires both Land Board and state legislative approval.

“The department supports the further study needed to consider fully this proposed land exchange. We are looking for the solution with the greatest public benefit,” said William Aila, chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources in an agency press release.

State officials note that land on the upper slopes are important sites for several initiatives including watershed restoration and recovery of endangered species.

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