NEW MAUNAKEA HERITAGE AND NATURAL RESOURCE GUIDE NOW AVAILABLE
The new "Maunakea Heritage and Natural Resources Guide," brochure featuring valuable information for visiting this storied place of cultural, archaeological, natural and scientific resources is now available and free for those visiting Maunakea.
Designed as an in-hand resource by the Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM), the guide brings to life the cultural references of the pu'u (cinder cones), significance of the summit areas, the natural history and historical origins of Maunakea. Maps of the mountain, including the Astronomy Precinct, are featured. The guide stresses exploring the mountain in a safe manner.
The guide is a product of the many hands and hours of work that led to the 2009 Comprehensive Management Plan. Members of the Kahu Ku Mauna Council, Environment Committee, Sustainable Resources Group Intn'l, Ena Media Hawaii, and many others assisted OMKM in developing and revising brochure content and style. Former OMKM intern and now employee Amber Stillman led the team in its preparation.
The principle themes of the guide are Mālama ʻĀina (take care of the land), be respectful of this storied place, and safety.
"Whether traveling to the summit area of Maunakea for culture, research or simply to watch the sunset, we designed this new heritage and natural resources guide to detail the remarkable natural and cultural landscape in a way that is helpful and educational to all who journey to Maunakea and want to learn more about this special place," said OMKM's Director Stephanie Nagata.
A Special Place
The Maunakea Heritage and Natural Resources Guide includes a cultural focus that will help visitors and kama'āina to understand the deep connection and reverence Hawaiians have for Maunakea.
The mountain is steeped in folklore as illustrated in a Hawaiian creation chant that explains the compression of time and space, the narrowing of distance between earth and sky, and connection to Maunakea.
The heritage section of the guide also addresses the natural history, historical origins, and how Hawaiians reference three regions on the mountain-Wao Akua, the highest points and the realm of the gods and spirits; Wao La'alā'au, the region on the mountain utilized for hunting and gathering (feathers and hardwoods); and Wao Nahele, the forested region where resources were gathered to build canoes, homes and crafts.
As a treasured place of cultural, spiritual and archaeological significance, visitors to the mountain are informed that appropriate and respectful behavior is expected.
The guide details how to safely explore the mountain lands, explaining the need to acclimate for at least 30 minutes at the Visitor Information Station and cautions that children under the age of 16, pregnant women and those with respiratory, heart or overweight conditions are advised not go higher than the VIS. Scuba divers are cautioned to wait 24 hours after their last dive before traveling to the summit.
Hikers are forewarned that there are no designated trails on the managed lands and stresses the need to check in at the VIS before and after hiking. Experienced hikers will take approximately 10 hours (and lots of water) when hiking up to the summit and back.
Introducing any form of plant or animal life and removing, damaging or disturbing any historic properties or geological features are prohibited on the mountain. Maunakea Rangers are on duty 365 days a year for resource protection and mountain visitor safety.
How to access information on road and weather conditions on Maunakea, information on land management, and native flora and fauna found in the region is also readily available.
Free copies of the Maunakea Heritage and Natural Resources Guide are now available at the Office of Maunakea Management's offices in Hilo and the Visitor Information Station at Halepōhaku. Internet users may view and print out a copy of the guide online at malamamaunakea.org/visitor-information.