Mixed results for Maunakea management, DLNR review finds

An independent assessment of the University of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan has found success in some areas and failure in others.

The seven-month review conducted for the Department of Land and Natural Resources by Honolulu public relations firm Kui‘walu Consulting assessed UH’s Office of Maunakea Management’s success in carrying out the goals of the Comprehensive Management Plan, which was implemented in 2009.

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The review sought public input on how well UH followed up on the four main goals of the management plan — understanding and protecting Maunakea’s resources, managing access and use of the mountain, managing the built environment on the mountain and operations management.

While the conclusion of the evaluation found that most respondents believe that the university has largely succeeded in certain aspects, it has failed in others, most notably those related to cultural outreach and education.

The evaluation conclusion found that material for Maunakea staff and visitors lacked context for the land’s significance to Native Hawaiians, that OMKM has been slow in achieving other goals such as the decommissioning of summit telescopes, and that OMKM has failed to adequately communicate with stakeholders and the community about what takes place on the mountain at any given time.

On the other hand, the report noted “We heard many comments that the cultural and natural resources on the state conservation lands on Maunakea are some of the best managed and protected lands in the entire state. The area is clear of trash, the invasive species are being removed not only by OMKM but volunteer groups, and the OMKM Rangers to ensure public safety on Maunakea.”

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“The results show overall solid management by UH on the protection of the mountain’s natural and cultural resources, but lacking in the equally important work of relationship building and meaningful inclusion of many people who care deeply about the mauna,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case. “This work will certainly help DLNR and the Board of Land and Natural Resources better understand and oversee management of Maunakea.”

See Friday’s Tribune-Herald for more.

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