Preserving historic battlefields, purchasing inholdings, acquiring wildlife habitat, and purchased water rights are among the National Park Service projects the Biden administration wants to tackle with nearly $57 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for Fiscal 2022.
The projects on the administration’s list stretch from Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia to War of the Pacific National Historical Park, where requested funds would be used to remove unexploded munitions and preserve a historic World War II Japanese cave.
At Haleakala National Park, large undeveloped parcels of land in Hawaii are uncommon, in particular those contiguous with the park. Three tracts of land, encompassing just over 3,000 acres, would protect unique natural and cultural resources. One-third of all birds listed under the Endangered Species Act occur in Hawaii. Acquisition of these tracts at a cost of $6.125 million dollars would allow the recovery and protection of critical habitat and would set the groundwork for the reintroduction and/or recovery of many unique and endangered Hawaiian species.
The proposal also presents an opportunity to expand recreational access for visitors and local communities in South Maui. Two northern parcels are proposed easements to protect valuable recreational access to the Hosmer Grove Campground and Haleamau’u Trail. The southern parcel is the only access for hikers between the Crater of Haleakala (at 7,000 ft. elevation) and the NPS “Denman” tract and would allow connectivity to the main unit. Although hikers have crossed the ranch for years, the current hiking route is not maintained, resulting in frequent injuries.
Acquisition of the ranch and maintenance of a safe trail would permit “through hiking” from the Summit District of Haleakala down to Kaupo. These areas are currently being used by visitors daily, resulting in ever-present liability for the park. The land acquisition would protect habitat for a number of endangered species, particularly birds. The park intends to use the parcels to reintroduce/recover a number of species upon acquisition in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.