DLNR REMINDS OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE RIDERS TO STAY ON MAUNA KEA SUMMIT ROADS

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For Immediate Release: December 15, 2008
DLNR REMINDS OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE RIDERS TO STAY ON
MAUNA KEA SUMMIT ROADS
MAUNA KEA, HAWAI‘I – The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division
of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and Na Ala Hele Trails and Access Program is reminding
recreational off-road riders that failure to comply with rules for riding on the Mauna Kea summit
roads may cause riding privileges to be revoked.
Under DOFAW hunting regulations, the area has long been open to hunters using four wheel
drive, ATV, and dirt bikes but all riders must stay on established forest roads. In April 2007
DLNR also opened up the R-1 or R-10 roads for use by recreational riders (non-hunters). All
vehicle operators are prohibited from cross country traveling and hill climbing.
As a condition of being allowed to ride this scenic natural area, all off-highway vehicle (OHV)
operators and riders are required to follow the rules that are listed in the DOFAW Permit and
Recreational Guide.
“The single most important rule for recreational vehicles is stay on the designated roads which
are open to riding – R-1 and R-10, and to not ride off these roads,” said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR
chairperson.
“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 Thielen.
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“Our Forestry and Wildlife staff has many responsibilities but their major responsibility is to
protect the resources. 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,” she said.
Warning signs posted by DOFAW staff to ‘Keep Off’ Pu‘u 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, DOFAW Na Ala Hele Trails and Access Program
Hawai‘i Island specialist. “Riders need to be respectful of the special and unique wilderness of
Mauna Kea, and its importance to the Hawaiian culture.”
“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,” he said.
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 (DOCARE) at 643-DLNR (3567).
It is a violation of state forest reserve rules to ride off authorized trails. Violators are subject to a
petty misdemeanor penalty of up to $500 fine and/or 30 days in jail. In addition, administrative
fines may be applied.
Permits, waivers, and recreational guides are available at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife
office at 19 E. Kawili St. in Hilo. For information call (808) 974-4221. In Waimea go to 66-
1220A Lalamilo Road, or call (808) 887-6063.
# # #
For more information news media may contact:
Deborah Ward
DLNR Public information specialist
Phone: (808) 587-0320

N8-158

About wayne.blyth

Chairman of MKRUG
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