THE FUTURE OF OUTDOOR RECREATION IN HAWAI‘I
DLNR Seeks Public Comment on the 2015 Outdoor Recreation Plan
News Release from DLNR April 8, 2015
HONOLULU – The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of State Parks in partnership with PBR HAWAII & Associates, Inc., is inviting the public to review the draft of the 2015 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).
The comprehensive recreation plan is updated every 5 years to assess Hawai‘i’s outdoor recreation trends, needs and priorities. The plan also provides direction for the State’s recreational future and allows Hawai‘i to remain eligible to receive funds for outdoor recreation projects through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a federal grants program administered by the National Park Service.
Using the priorities for outdoor recreation identified in the comprehensive recreation plan, the National Park Service selects projects to receive conservation funding that best meet Hawai‘i’s recreational needs and help resolve recreational conflicts.
The 5-year strategic plan for outdoor recreation as presented in the draft 2015 recreation plan is based on comments received from recreation agencies and the public through online surveys and public meetings held between January and March 2014. More than 1,100 people participated in the process and identified the operation and maintenance of recreation facilities as the number one issue and priority for investment in outdoor recreation.
The public and recreation agencies both recognize an increasing demand on outdoor recreation facilities due to a growing population of residents, military, and visitors. While County leaders have placed an emphasis on the maintenance of their parks, they also recognize the need for public-private partnerships. Ocean recreation continues to be a high recreation priority for Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors, but user conflicts in the ocean remain a challenge. Sports fields are in high demand, especially with year-round seasons that stress the demand and maintenance for these multi-purpose fields.
The 2009 recreation plan identified multi-use paths for walking, jogging, and bicycling as one of Hawaii’s recreational priorities and this trend continues into the 2015 SCORP.
In response to this demand, LWCF grants were awarded in 2014 to the County of Hawai‘i and DLNR to assist with the construction of the new Hilo Bayfront Trails. This multi-use trail system will run through several County parks, including Mo‘oheau Park, Hilo Bayfront Park and Hilo Bayfront Soccer Fields, as well as Wailoa River State Recreation Area.
Ocean recreation and hiking trails are major recreational activities that are experiencing higher demand and user conflicts as the population grows and the funds and staffing to expand and maintain the resources and facilities remain limited.
The increase in ocean and hiking related accidents and rescues points to the popularity of these recreational activities but also the dangers and concerns for public safety when recreating in Hawai‘i’s natural environment.
In response to the demand for hiking opportunities, another current project being assisted with an LWCF grant is the repair of, and improvements to the Makapu‘u Trail within the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline.
“We have seen the popularity of the Makapu‘u Trail continue to grow among both residents and visitors. The repairs will promote a safe, enjoyable hiking experience while the new viewing areas with interpretive signs will share the resources and history of this park,” said Dan Quinn, State Parks administrator. The Makapu‘u Trail work is currently underway with completion scheduled for July 2015.
A 14-page summary of the SCORP findings and strategic plan, as well as the full draft SCORP document with appendices, can viewed on the State Parks website: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/
Public comments are due by April 30, 2015 and can be submitted by e-mail or in writing to:
PBR HAWAII & Associates, Inc.
Attn: Catie Cullison, AICP
1001 Bishop Street, Suite 650
Honolulu, HI 96813-3484
LWCF grants provide a match for State and County funds to acquire new land for outdoor recreation and develop or renovate recreational facilities. Since 1967, the State of Hawai‘i and the four counties have received more than $38 million in LWCF grants for acquisition and development of outdoor recreation lands and facilities. In recent years, LWCF grants have been awarded to the County of Hawaii to install new playground equipment at Panaewa Zoo in Hilo, to the City and County of Honolulu to replace the ball field lights at Ala Wai Community Park, to the County of Maui to construct a new skate park within the Lahaina Recreation Center, and to State Parks for renovation of the Makapu‘u Trail within the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline on O‘ahu.
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