(BIVN) – Two days after the Hawaiʻi County Game Management Advisory Commission met in Hilo and discussed concerns related to the closure of Mauna Kea to hunting, the state has changed course.
State hunting units A, K, and G, in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve and Natural Area Reserve will reopen today, the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources announced.
The area was closed on July 15th, “to protect public safety and provide security for the safe movement of heavy construction equipment associated with the Thirty Meter Telescope,” the state said. The units were scheduled to be closed through August 12, and some hunters were worried that the closure would be extended due to the ongoing situation on the Mauna Kea Access Road.
“It’s not looking like this is gonna get any better, any time soon,” said Willie-Joe Camara, a former GMAC commissioner, who spoke at Tuesday’s GMAC meeting.
The GMAC commissioners were ready to speak out in the matter.
“How do we feed our family?” commissioner Teresa Nakama asked. “They are prohibiting us and constitutionally denying us. And they’re violating the Constitution of Article 12 section 7.”
Today’s announcement by the DLNR re-opened the Mauna Hea units 12 days earlier than the hunters anticipated.
DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We announced at the beginning that these units would reopen as soon as practicable and with Governor Ige lifting the emergency proclamation earlier this week, it is no longer necessary to continue to restrict access to these popular hunting areas. In the future, depending on circumstances, the hunting units could be temporarily closed again.”