By Maui Now Staff
Haleakalā National Park on Maui today announced plans to host five commercial-free days next year as part of a new Commercial Service Plan.
Park officials say that under the plan, the specified days are intended to provide opportunities for Native Hawaiians to conduct traditional cultural practices in the park without any impacts from commercial tours.
The park has identified five days beginning in July of 2015, during which commercial tours will not be permitted, but the park will remain open to all visitors.
Park officials say they sought input from Native Hawaiian staff, community members, and the park’s kūpuna group in determining the following commercial free dates:
- Lolopua, July 18, 2015: one of the two days commonly known as zenith noon;
- Start of Makahiki: date determined using Bishop Museum’s Planetarium calendar;
- Winter solstice, Dec. 22, 2015;
- End of Makahiki: date determined using Bishop Museum’s Planetarium calendar
- Summer solstice, June 21, 2016.
Park Superintendent Natalie Gates said notice of the commercial-free days is being given now to allow sufficient time for the park’s commercial tour operators to adjust their reservation schedules and operations.
“We will be very interested to see how the community responds to these commercial free days during the first year of their implementation, said Gates in a statement. “We will be open to comments and may change the dates in future years if the community response warrants.”
The park’s commercial services plan is available for viewing online at the following direct LINK .