Video by David Corrigan, voice of Sherry Bracken
- The Mauna Kea Access Road remains closed to motorists beyond Hale Pohaku. Only the astronomy crews and their support services are being allowed to drive up to the summit. Although the road was cleared of rocks last week, the university says they are trying to figure out what to do with “all the loose material” and are making sure the slopes are stable. “We are probably going to use the rocks that have accumulated to shore up that first hairpin,” UH spokesperson Dan Meisenzahl said.
- The closure is for vehicular traffic only. Meisenzahl said that although the university has been accused of closing the road on purpose, “it doesn’t serve us because anyone can get up there through the hiking trail.”
- The Mauna Kea Visitors Center is completely shut down. Restrooms are closed. The water at the facility has been turned off. Guides are unavailable. The parking lot is closed, although many tourists driving up to the VIS on Friday disregarded the closure. Meisenzahl said the VIS is closed because of the strain on the facility’s resources. “It was the last thing we wanted to do,” Meisenzahl said, “because that is our interface with the community.”
- The self proclaimed protectors of Mauna Kea, who today enter the 100th day of their vigil on the mountain in an attempt to block the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, question the timing of all the closures, which coincided with the second round of arrests on June 24th.
- The protectors broke down their main tent and are clarifying that they are on Mauna Kea to maintain a vigil and not to camp. The state says it will enforce laws that prohibit camping at the location. As of Friday, Hale Kukia’imauna still stands, as does the wa’a beside it.
- With all other restrooms closed, the protectors have taken it upon themselves to haul their own portable lua up to the site at the crosswalk. They say many of the hundreds of visitors who are still visiting the mountain are using their portable toilets.
- Concern is also being voiced about the ability of cultural practitioners to access to the summit. Some of the protectors posted to Facebook that they are only being allowed to access the summit area at 1 p.m. every day and that the group is being limited to 10 people. The university said it is helping take a “dozen or so native practitioners up the road” to the top of the mountain every day.
by Big Island Video News
MAUNA KEA - The access road and the Visitors Center remain closed, restrooms are locked and the water has been turned off. Those maintaining a vigil at the Hale Pohaku crosswalk have been at it for 100 days, and today they are providing portable toilets to the many visitors who continue to visit the mountain.