Additional hearings announced for proposed Maui Nui forest additions and rule changes
Two additional hearings have been scheduled for Maui and Moloka‘i for people to comment on a proposal to protect nearly 100 unencumbered state land parcels across Hawai‘i as part of the State Forest Reserves, Natural Area Reserves, and Wildlife Sanctuaries systems.
Additionally, comment is being sought to update administrative rules associated with the Natural Area Reserves System. Both proposals are being shared online and in meetings to collect public input. In-person meetings have already been held on O‘ahu, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island.
The proposed parcels are state lands not currently managed for environmental protection or any particular land use, according to DLNR.
Department officials say new land designations will allow the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife to protect these parcels and provide areas for conservation, preservation, recreation, and sustainable forest products. Activities on these parcels could include the protection of endangered species habitat, cultural site preservation, forest restoration, and access for hiking or hunting.
The parcels, include over 21,000 acres; 18,630 acres proposed as forest reserves, 2,192 acres for natural area reserves, and 196 acres for wildlife sanctuaries.
DOFAW is also proposing updates to administrative rules for the NARS. The amendments would improve the protection of reserves by modifying prohibited activities and penalties, allow longer-term special use permits, adjust parking fees for non-residents, managing commercial usage similar to the Nā Ala Hele Trails and Access program, extending the closure of areas, and restricting access to off-trail areas.
Input from community members can be provided in multiple ways: online via the DOFAW website, via mail or in person at a DOFAW office, or at upcoming hearings. Comments are due by March 1, 2023.
Maui and Moloka‘i informational meetings schedule:
In person: March 2, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Kahului Community Center, 275 Uhu Street, Kahului, HI 96732
In person: Feb. 23, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Mitchell Pauole Community Center, 90 Ainoa Street, Kaunakakai, HI 96748
Online: Feb. 15, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. via Zoom
Meeting ID: 816 9683 3617; Passcode: QrVz0G