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Haleakala Long-Range Development Plan Finalized

The Institute for Astronomy finalized the Haleakala High Altitude Observatory Site Long Range Development Plan in January after a long process that included comprehensive environmental, cultural/historic, and conceptual planning studies, surveys, and inventories, as well as input from members of the Maui community, including Native Hawaiians and environmentalists. The plan offers a physical plan and management structure that seeks to balance Haleakala's astronomical observatories and their associated scientific and economic benefits with the need to protect the cultural and environmental resources on the 18-acre science reserve site.

The plan specifies the steps that must be taken to protect the natural and cultural resources within and near Haleakala Observatories (HO), especially during construction in the area. All those working on a construction project must receive environmental training from UH or the Air Force before beginning work, so they will learn what measures must be taken to avoid introducing destructive nonnative species, how to protect the endangered `ua`u (dark-rumped petrel), which nests in the area from February to October, and other important matters.

To protect cultural resources, any construction requiring a permit from the Department of Land and Natural Resources requires the consultation and monitoring of a cultural specialist, who will be engaged at the earliest stages of the planning process, monitor the construction process, and consult with and advise the onsite project manager with regard to any cultural or spiritual correction. All construction crewmembers and all permanent employees working at HO must attend UH-approved "sense of place" training prior to working there, and a cultural specialist will also conduct an inspection of HO twice a year.

KC Environmental, Inc. of Makawao, Maui prepared the plan for the IfA. The survey work for the plan was coordinated with the appropriate state agencies where required, and although much prior work was already available as reference resources, all the qualified experts involved conducted their own field and laboratory work at the HO site.

To provide those working at HO with sense of place training, the U.S. Air Force and the IfA commissioned an original film by Maui filmmaker Jay April, Haleakala: A Sense of Place. The film premiered on February 20 at McCoy Studio Theater of the Maui Arts and Cultural Center.