Northwestern Hawaiian isles might get U.N. designation


POSTED: Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands could become the second United Nations World Heritage site in Hawaii, joining Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The United States will nominate the marine monument, along with George Washington's Mount Vernon estate, to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, President Bush said yesterday.

The two sites are the first submissions from the U.S. in 15 years. There are 21 UN heritage sites in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon National Park and the Statue of Liberty.

If accepted by the United Nations, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands will join 878 sites in 145 countries already recognized for their cultural and natural heritage significance.

Native Hawaiian fisherman William Aila said the UNESCO designation for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument has both natural history and cultural value. The designation would “;put it on a much higher pedestal in terms of importance to the world.”;