MKRUG testimony at BLNR Meeting 9/9/10 (Kulani)

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September 8, 2010
Department of Land and Natural Resources
Attn: Board Members
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 130,
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Reference:
C. 1. Acceptance of a Hearing Master Report on a Public Hearing for a Proposed Addition
to the Natural Area Reserves System, and Withdrawal of Portions of Governor’s
Executive Orders 1225 and 1588 and Re-Set Aside as an Extension of Puu Makaala
Natural Area Reserve, and Immediate Management Right-of-Entry, for TMK (3) 2-4-08:09
(paR), South Hilo, Hawaii
D. 3. Cancellation of Governor’s Executive Order Nos. 1225 and 1588 and Reset Aside
Portion to State of Hawaii, Department of Defense, for Youth ChalleNGe Academy and
Hawaii Army National Guard Training Purposes, with an Access and Utility Easement
Reserved to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and
Wildlife, Waiakea, South Hilo, Hawaii, Tax Map Key: (3) 2-4-08:09 por.;
Cancellation of Governor’s Executive Order No. 3678 and Grant of Perpetual
Non-Exclusive Easement to Department of Defense for Access and Utility Purposes,
Waiakea, South Hilo, Hawaii, Tax Map Keys: (3) 2-4-08: por. & 1-8-12: por.

Dear Chairperson and Board Members:

The Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group is a coalition representing the various user interests of
public lands. Our primary mission is preserving public access. We are addressing both items as
one as we can’t see how they can be reasonably considered separately.

While we can support in theory the NARS and DOD concept, we cannot support the proposal as it
stands now. As we testified at the hearing at Cooper Center on July 12 our position is that the
public deserves access to and through the former Kulani Prison site exclusive of NARS or DOD
control.

We feel the headlong rush to take this proposal through the system has resulted in several glaring
deficiencies which should be addressed before proceeding. This hurry is unnecessary from either
the NARS or DOD points of view. The current 25 year duration MOA between PSD and DOD
allows for operation of the Youth Challenge Academy and assigns to DOD responsibility for the
Three Mountain Alliance MOA for ongoing cooperative watershed/land management efforts.

We have two main areas of concern: (1) inadequate consideration of public access needs and (2) inappropriate avoidance of the letter and intent of Chapter 343 HRS.

1. Public access. A member of the public would have to deal with potentially three different
jurisdictions to acquire access through the parcel, DOFAW’s local office, NARS, and DOD. Shortly after the
Cooper Center hearing we requested a permit to access the site to investigate possible public access
alignments and to familiarize our members with the area in general. While this visitation was never
accomplished, we were able to meet with Youth Challenge Academy officials to discuss public access. It
became apparent at this meeting that the proposal as drafted did not allow DOD enough latitude to negotiate
an agreement to meet public access needs.

Until it was connected to Saddle Road in 1963 Stainback Highway was the only route to the summit of Mauna
Loa. At that time use of the road became restricted due to security concerns relating to prison operations.
Now that the prison is no more we would like to see the vision of Tom Vance (Director of Institutions, 1948)
and Governor Stainback be reinstated. Another route which has been mostly ignored is the historic Puu 0’0
Trail which runs though the property. Should there be planning for these routes to be included in the Na Ala
Hele trail system?

2. Chapter 343 HRS requirements and intent. The intent of 343 is “The legislature further finds that
the process of reviewing environmental effects is desirable because environmental consciousness is enhanced,
cooperation and coordination are encouraged, and public participation during the review process benefits all
parties involved and society as a whole.” The proposal was drafted by discussions between DOFAW/NARS
and DOD/YCA ignoring any public participation. The same exemption from the requirements of Chapter 343
HRS is being cited for both initiatives “Operations, repairs or maintenance of existing structures, facilities,
equipment or topographical features, involving negligible or no expansion or change of use beyond that
previously existing”. To most people a adult corrections facility is not the same use as a ‘boot camp’ for youth
with accompanying possible military training. The voluntary PSD participation in the Three Mountain Alliance
MOA is not the same as a NARS.

Given the restricted access to the parcel under either PSD or DOD/YCA/NARS control any past or future
environmental assessments will not have to address full public access issues. Also the ‘insider trading’ aspects
of this plan has not allowed proper public input on other potentially desirable uses for the property.

For these reasons we ask the Board to require an environmental assessment process be initiated before
moving forward.

Sincerely,

Wayne Blyth
Chairman

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