Lā 176: DLNR to protesters: Remove the camp

Hawaii Tribune Herald  SEPTEMBER 17, 2015 - 3:20PM

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A group of Native Hawaiians protesting the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea will have until this evening to remove their campsite, according to a notice from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

A copy of the DLNR notice posted on an anti-TMT Facebook page and signed by Chair Suzanne Case says the hale and tent at the campsite near the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station will be considered abandoned at 6 p.m. Structures and material will be removed at the owner’s expense.

The notice, dated Tuesday, says the structures are in violation of state laws “prohibiting any construction or improvement in the forest reserve and camping activity that involves the possession of a tent, tarpaulin, or other obvious camping paraphernalia” in a restricted area.

DLNR conservation officers have made arrests at the unauthorized camp site twice but have left the camp itself in place.

The camp has been in place for 176 days and is used by TMT protesters to practice cultural traditions and keep a 24-hour watch on the mountain.

Citing disruptions attributed to the camp, DLNR enacted emergency rules specifically prohibiting people from being in the area from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. unless transiting on the road.

Protesters have alleged selective enforcement by the state and say they have made efforts to limit disruptions to VIS and astronomy staff.