Mauna Kea Public Access Rules Take Effect

On January 13th, 2020 Governor Ige signed the controversial rules governing public and commercial activities on Mauna Kea Lands. They take effect ten days from the signing, on January 23rd.

Mauna Kea sits above a fog shrouded Saddle Road
Mauna Kea sits above a fog shrouded Saddle Road

I have mixed feelings on these rules. Some of the rules are badly needed to control public activity atop the summit of Mauna Kea, rules that can help preserve and protect this place. I believe other rules go too far, attempting to regulate visitor activities that have no impact on the mauna.

My concerns on these rules are known, I have written about them here on DV and I have testified at each round of public hearings. I will not editorialize this time, the rules are now finalized. Those who go to the mauna should be aware of what has changed, and much has changed, expect these rules to be implemented in coming months.

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A Snow Week

With a decent snowfall atop Mauna Kea my week was one of snow, and more snow. It was a week of problems and beauty.

The snow started falling on the 10th, a blanket of white covering the mauna. As the observatory crews pulled out and the road was closed we watched the storm on the webcams. While it snowed on the summit near record rains and flooding hit Hilo along with much of the windward side.

Dawn over Mauna Kea as seen from Saddle Road
Dawn over Mauna Kea as seen from Saddle Road

While a few guys from our summit crew made short visits to check on things, for the most part work on the summit was paused through the weekend, conditions inoperable.

It was not until Tuesday that the snowplows cleared the snowdrifts and access was partially restored. With delayed tasks to do I drove up that morning into a spectacular dawn over the mauna.

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