Friday, November 8, 2002

Audubon is aiming to
preserve Waimea

By Diana Leone

If the National Audubon Society is chosen to operate Waimea Falls Park, "everything we do will be for the preservation of resources and their interpretation," a spokeswoman said.

The national conservation group has a goal of "establishing 1,000 nature centers and sanctuaries across the country by the year 2020," and Waimea could be one of those, said Diana King, a National Audubon Society project manager.

Should the City and County of Honolulu chose Audubon to operate Waimea, "our primary objectives are protection and enhancement of cultural, botanical and ecological resources. All are equally important," King said in a preview of a public presentation she will give at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Haleiwa Alii Beach Park Surf Center.

The North Shore Outdoor Circle invited Audubon and Waimea Management LLC to appear before the group and describe their respective visions for the 1,700-acre park.

The city plans to buy the North Shore park from Christian Wolffer, who declared bankruptcy, for $5.1 million, and accepted proposals for managing it in June.

Waimea Management, a company formed by park General Manager Ray Green, declined to make a community presentation until after the city makes its selection, Outdoor Circle spokeswoman Diane Anderson said.

Green did not return calls to his office at the park yesterday.

City spokeswoman Carol Costa did not provide information yesterday on how close the city's selection committee is to making a decision. King said that among the organization's proposals for the park are:

>> Lower entrance fees, to make the park more accessible for visitors and local residents.

>> Removal of the park's existing motorized trams in favor of more walking, with bicycles and solar-powered golf carts as possible alternate transportation modes and more hiking trails cleared.

>> Restoring wetlands at the mouth of the valley and upland areas deep in the valley, both with wild native plants and with cultivated taro and sweet potatoes, to provide "a more traditional Hawaiian environment" and better bird habitat.

>> Performing a complete archeological assessment of the valley's historic features. King emphasized that the organization wants to work with community members, many of whom worked on the Waimea Falls Park Community Master Plan.

E-mail to City Desk


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