Do you think there are too many people headed up to the summit of Haleakala to watch the sunrise? If so, officials at Haleakala National Park want to hear from you. That’s because they’re conducting a new Environmental Assessment (EA) “to address overcrowding and resource concerns” at the summit, according to a June 15 park news release.
Here’s more detail on what park officials are looking for, and why:
Sunrise viewing at the summit of Haleakala is a top visitor attraction on Maui. Pre-dawn through sunrise is the busiest time of day, and there has been an ongoing, steady, and significant increase in sunrise visitation. In response to concerns about safety and resource damage from overcrowding at the summit during sunrise hours, emergency restrictions were enacted to address the problem.
A pilot reservation system for sunrise summit visitation was introduced in February of 2017 and has dramatically reduced crowding at the summit during sunrise hours. The reservation system currently in place will be evaluated in this environmental assessment, along with other potential solutions to the problems associated with overcrowding at the summit during sunrise hours.
The public comment period starts this Wednesday, June 21 and goes on for a month, ending on Friday, July 21. You can submit your comments online at Parkplanning.nps.gov/sunrise.
There will also be two public meetings on the new EA this week:
• Wednesday, June 21 at the Hannibal Tavares Community Center (91 Pukalani St., Makawao).
• Thursday, June 22 at the Baldwin High School multipurpose room (1650 W. Ka`ahumanu Ave., Wailuku).
Both meetings are scheduled to run 5:30-6:30pm.
Photo courtesy Haleakala National Park