The Mauna Kea Recreation Area has officially been renamed after late Big Island state Sen. Gil Kahele.
During a private ceremony Wednesday with Kahele’s family and friends and public officials, a new entrance sign was unveiled, changing the name of the park to the Gilbert Kahele Recreation Area.
The change was approved April 12 by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.
The park, which includes cabins and a playground, is located off the Daniel K. Inouye Highway. The former state park is managed by Hawaii County, but the state remains the landowner for the time being.
“My father worked just down the road from the recreation area for 34 years as director of the Public Works Division at the Pohakuloa Training Area,” said Kahele’s son, state Sen. Kai Kahele. “When he served in the state Legislature, he was instrumental in achieving park improvements by way of the transfer of the management to Hawaii County. He would be deeply honored that a place he dearly loved now bears his name.”
Gil Kahele died in 2016 at age 73.
An official blessing will follow at a later date when memorabilia from the late senator’s life will be added to the multi-purpose center at the Gilbert Kahele Recreation Area.