Thursday, August 30, 2001

Mink drops pursuit
of national park
on Molokai

Residents are angry because they
were not asked for opinions

Star-Bulletin staff

U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink said yesterday she will not seek additional national parks on Molokai, since island residents have overwhelmingly said they do not want one.

Mink authored legislation several years ago that asked the National Park Service to study the suitability of five Hawaii locations for national park status.

A report released in November 2000 gave the thumbs-down to Kauai's Anini Beach, Lanai's Lanaihale mountaintop and a Maui beach north of Kaanapali. But it suggested further consideration of national parks at two spots on Molokai: the North Shore Sea Cliffs and Halawa Valley.

At a meeting Saturday on Molokai, "many of the residents expressed anger at the park service because they were not consulted (during the study) or an opinion solicited from them," Mink said.

"They said, 'Why couldn't you talk to us?'"

Mink said the feedback she heard this week was not unexpected, and she will not pursue park plans unless locals change their minds.

"The community feels, leave it all alone; they're happy the way it is," she said. "The study is there, if in the future the community wants to move forward."

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