by Lt. Governor Duke Aiona
As many residents of the Big Island may already know, recreational areas across Hawai‘i are taking on new relevance as part of a $240 million effort due to be completed in five years.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is at the very earliest stages of a major proposal to overhaul state parks, trails and ocean recreational areas.
The central feature of the department’s “Recreational Renaissance” plan is 238 statewide projects, including 60 on the Big Island with a total price tag of $58.3 million.
This comprehensive plan to spruce up state parks and other recreational areas is among our Administration’s key legislative initiatives for this year.
We are looking to draw on the popularity of our recreational areas to help reverse years of decline and rehabilitate these cultural attractions for outdoor enthusiasts, who enjoy everything from fishing and hunting, to boating and camping, to hiking and swimming.
Big Island residents will soon get a chance to comment on the plan.
A two-hour public meeting on the plan is set for 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27 at the State Office Building in Hilo.
Another two-hour public meeting on the plan is also scheduled for the same time and day at the Waikoloa Elementary School Cafeteria on Ho‘oko Street. These meetings being held simultaneously are the latest in a series of public meetings that our administration will holding across the state on this plan.
A key goal of these meeting is to build public support for the “Recreational Renaissance” plan, and push for passage of the legislation that ultimately would authorize the funding needed to begin the upgrades.
Recreational areas are an integral part of life, and renovating them is a matter of civic responsibility.
Our hope is Big Island residents will make their voices heard and support the renaissance plan crafted by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which operates and maintains 54 state parks; 20 small boat harbors; 25 boat ramps as well as landings; 275 miles of hiking trails; 19 Natural Area Reserves; 55 Forest Reserves; and hundreds of miles of state beaches.
With our administration, the legislature and the community all working together, we can look forward to the long-overdue revival that is outlined in what we believe is an effective plan to breathe new life into recreational areas across the state.
More information on the “Recreational Renaissance” plan is just a click away on the department’s website at http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/recreate.