As part of the new Commercial Service Plan, five commercial-free days have been determined for Haleakalā National Park, beginning in July 2015. As specified in the plan, these days are intended to provide opportunities for Native Hawaiians to conduct traditional cultural practices in the park without any impacts from commercial tours. Although commercial tours will not be permitted during commercial-free days, the park will remain open to all visitors.
Park officials sought input from Native Hawaiian Staff, community members, and the park’s kūpuna group in determining the following dates:
- Lolopua, one of the two days commonly known as zenith noon (July 18, 2015)
- Start of Makahiki (date determined using Bishop Museum’s Planetarium calendar)
- Winter solstice (December 22, 2015)
- End of Makahiki (date determined using Bishop Museum’s Planetarium calendar)
- Summer solstice (June 21, 2016)
Notice of the commercial-free days is being given now to allow sufficient time for the park’s commercial tour operators to adjust their reservation schedules and operations. “We will be very interested to see how the community responds to these commercial free days during the first year of their implementation, said Superintendent Natalie Gates. “We will be open to comments and may change the dates in future years if the community response warrants.” For more information on the park’s commercial services plan please visit http://www.nps.gov/hale/parkmgmt/csp.htm.