More Hearings for Proposed Forest Additions, Rule Changes
DLNR News Release
Two additional hearings have been scheduled for Maui and Molokai for people to comment on a proposal to protect nearly 100 unencumbered state land parcels across Hawaii as part of the State Forest Reserves, Natural Area Reserves, and Wildlife Sanctuaries systems, including some parcels on Molokai.
Additionally, comment is being sought to update administrative rules associated with the Natural Area Reserves System (NARS). Both proposals are being shared online and in meetings to collect people’s input. In-person meetings have already been held on Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii Island.
The proposed parcels are state lands not currently managed for environmental protection or any particular land use. New land designations will allow the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) 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 Na 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.
An online meeting via Zoom will take place on Feb. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m., Meeting ID: 816 9683 3617; Passcode: QrVz0G.
The in person Molokai meeting will be held on Feb. 23 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Mitchell Pauole Center.
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