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Thursday, January 29, 2009
Governor, DLNR unveil "Recreational Renaissance"
By News Release @ 3:43 PM :: 3847 Views

HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle and the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) today unveiled additional details on the proposed “Recreational Renaissance,” including how a more efficient, coordinated team approach will support a comprehensive, statewide plan to reinvest in Hawai‘i’s public recreational resources as part of a continuing and improved effort to protect and enhance the state’s natural and cultural assets.  They were joined by nearly 50 state legislators, environmental groups and community partners.
The proposed “Recreational Renaissance” plan focuses on restoring and preserving Hawai‘i’s state parks, various popular trails and ocean recreation facilities, and represents a new and innovative approach to developing and maintaining outdoor recreational properties in the state. 
Important changes include adopting a national model that establishes comprehensive standards for maintenance schedules to sustain parks, trails and small boat harbors at a measurable standard, and a new integrated project management approach at DLNR to maximize efficiency and professionalism in maintaining recreational facilities and spaces. 
“More than any other state, Hawai‘i residents depend upon our ocean and land for recreational opportunities, sustenance, and cultural and spiritual practices,” said Governor Lingle. “To ensure the long-term viability of these precious resources, we are renewing our commitment to preserve and protect these special assets and to educate residents and visitors about their importance.”
The Recreational Renaissance provides a comprehensive strategy to immediately improve recreational facilities across the state, embrace the operational changes needed within DLNR to successfully upgrade its facilities and provide regular and cost-effective maintenance, and to fund this effort through a combination of new non-tax revenues and limited modest fees. 
The cornerstones of the modernization plan include:

  • $240 million for 238 capital improvements for recreational infrastructure over five years, with the debt paid by rents from state commercial and industrial lands.
  • Dedicated revenues generated from limited fees, leases and concessions in parks and small boat harbors to support facility maintenance, restoration, interpretive and educational programs and increase security of recreational spaces.
  • Adopting national model standards for maintenance schedules to upgrade park trails and small boat harbor standards, and reorganizing DLNR to maximize efficiency and professionalism in maintaining recreational facilities and spaces.
  • Developing new land and ocean recreational opportunities through public-private partnerships to support long-term demand for additional recreational opportunities and relieve pressure on a limited number of popular recreational spaces.

The heart of the Recreational Renaissance consists of a five-year rhythmic cycle of infrastructure improvements to recreational facilities across the state.  Land and ocean recreation infrastructure projects will be coordinated by island to maximize efficiency. 
This idea of implementing capital improvement projects by geographic area rather than by divisions or programs is a new model for the department. 
“Working together with the different divisions as a collaborative team on this type of modernization plan is a new approach for DLNR, and will improve the efficiency of programs that manage and protect natural and cultural resources which we are charged to sustain and protect,” said Curt Cottrell, Na Ala Hele trails and access program manager.  Cottrell noted that “bundling” projects regionally will increase efficiency for contract administration and reduce the overall cost of project implementation.
Multiple capital improvement projects are planned for both land- and ocean-based recreational infrastructure on all islands.  In the first year of the plan, $31.3 million in projects are ready to bid for construction.  In the second year of the plan, $20.6 million in projects are ready to bid for construction.
The $240 million in capital improvement projects include $63.3 million for Kaua‘i (46 projects), $35.7 for Maui (32 projects), $4.5 million for Moloka‘i (6 projects), $770,000 for Lāna‘i (1 project), $58.3 million for Hawai‘i (60 projects), $72.6 million for O‘ahu (73 projects) and $4.9 million statewide (20 projects).
“By utilizing multiple sources of revenue and a small amount of general obligation bond funding, we are employing a coordinated, creative approach to upgrade and expand our recreational facilities that takes into account both the current fiscal condition of the state and the growing needs of our population,” said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson.
“Although the challenges are real, continuing to do ‘business as usual’ will mean Hawai‘i’s parks, beaches, trails, campgrounds, cabins, small boat harbors and ramps will fall further into disrepair, our environmental and cultural resources will be further degraded, we will have increasingly unsafe recreational spaces for residents and visitors alike, and we will lose educational opportunities to promote kuleana and stewardship,” Thielen said.
The Recreational Renaissance includes developing long-awaited and new recreational places, including:

  • A string of parks along the northwestern coast of the Big Island will be connected by the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, and will provide managed access along areas that contain some of Hawai‘i’s most significant and intact historic and cultural sites, offer educational opportunities and provide a long-distance hiking experience connecting wilderness camping areas, shelters and interpretive signs. A parallel water trail with landings will be incorporated into the plan to provide an option for kayak camping as well.
  • A “linear park” will be developed along the base of Diamond Head Crater’s outer slope to augment the recreational needs of urban Honolulu and the core of Hawai‘i’s visitor industry.  The plan includes incorporating walking, bikeway and jogging paths, rest stops, and interpretive signs along a route already heavily used for fitness and outdoor activities by residents and visitors.
  • The plan also includes the opportunity to create new managed areas and venues for the under-serviced members of the recreational community, via the development of two new public shooting ranges and a managed off-highway vehicle riding area.

Additional information on the Recreational Renaissance plan, including specific project plans, fact sheets, photographs and other materials, can be found on the DLNR website at http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/recreate.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources operates and maintains 54 State Parks, 20 Small Boat Harbors, 25 boat ramps or landings, 275 miles of hiking trails, 19 Natural Area Reserves, 55 Forest Reserves and hundreds of miles of state beaches.  



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