Hawaii Tribune Herald – ATVs Harming Mauna Kea

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ATVs harming Mauna Kea

Off-road riders who ignore the rules for riding on the Mauna Kea summit roads may have their riding privileges revoked, warned the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the Na Ala Hele Trails and Access Program.

Under state hunting regulations, the area has long been open to hunters using four-wheel drive, all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes. In April 2007, the roads were opened to non-hunter recreational riders. All vehicle operators are prohibited from cross country traveling and hill climbing.

“Mauna Kea is an especially sensitive area and we have had problems with illegal riding off the R-1 and R-10 roads, including climbing of Kanakaleonui cinder hill, 12 miles in from Hale Pohaku,” said Laura Thielen, DLNR chairwoman. “If the illegal activity, which is damaging natural resources, doesn’t stop, they will have no choice but to close the R-1 and R-10 to recreational riding.”

“Keep Off” warning signs posted at Puu Kanakaleonui do not seem to be working and the illegal riding has moved mauka of R-1, leaving tracks that will scar the area for years.

“Riders should respect this area and follow the rules so they can continue to enjoy this unique and beautiful area,” said Irv Kawashima, Na Ala Hele Trails and Access Program Hawaii Island specialist. “While the majority of recreational vehicle drivers do obey the rules, a few individuals who choose to violate the rules and mess it up for the rest of the riding public.”

DLNR asks anyone who sees someone violating the rules to get all the information (number of vehicles, make, type, color, names of individuals if possible) and call the Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement at 643-DLNR (3567).

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