Hawaii Closes Nature Reserve Cliff Popular With Climbers

Photo by ale72/Getty Images via Newscred

by The Associated Press, October 17, 2019

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Hawaii has closed access to a cliff face in a nature reserve over concerns that rock-climbing activities are threatening native plant species and modifying the rock face, officials said.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources approved the cliff closure in the Lihau section of the West Maui Natural Area Reserve, The Maui News reported Tuesday.

The closure will continue for up to two years, officials said.

The state Division of Forestry and Wildlife requested the change to protect rare and endangered plants on the cliff and in the surrounding area.

Rock climbers have installed hardware and footholds into the cliff, which affects threatened and endangered plants such as the Maui chaff flower and the Menzies' schiedea, officials said.

The dry cliff ecosystem is home to vegetation that grows on steep slopes in areas receiving less than 75 inches (191 centimeters) of rainfall per year, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Modifying geological features is prohibited under state law, and continued use of the walls for rock climbing exposes the rare plants to more damage, forestry and wildlife officials said.

Climbers hiking to the cliff also are creating a danger of trampling or breaking West Maui's only known population of yellow hibiscus, officials said.

Members of Maui's rock-climbing community said they wish the state had worked with them rather than restricting access.

"We've taken it upon ourselves to take care of the land in whatever small ways we can and tread lightly," climber Dave Elberg said. "That's always what we do. Now they want to shut down the area for two years. It's just frustrating because I feel like it's kind of stigmatizing our group."

___

Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

Copyright (2019) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

Related Articles

Hawaii Councilor Wants Environmental Pledge From Tourists

Maui Bans Tours, Lessons in Beach Parks on Sundays, Holidays

Ocean Heat Wave Threatens Severe Damage to Hawaii Coral

Tourism in Hawaii Has Reached 'Tipping Point', Say Experts

Suggested Articles:

The New Jersey State Senate introduced a bill to implement a rigid version of the so-called "ABC test" to determine if a worker is an employee or IC.

Located near famous filming sites for "Star Wars," the resort has 93 guestrooms and villas and even offers tours to the movie locations. See more.

With the holidays fast approaching, travelers to London are spoiled for choice of interesting ways to spend a few hours. See what's planned here.