December 27, 2010
Proposed Kalaupapa Memorial Environmental Assessment Public Review
The Environmental Assessment (EA) for the construction of a Memorial to commemorate the lives of more than 8,000 patients with Hansen’s Disease is now available for public review and comment at the National Park Service website Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (http://parkplanning.nps.gov/). In addition to release on the planning website, public review is also solicited by mailing the EA to federal/state/county agencies on the park’s mailing list, publishing press releases, and placing copies of the document at the Moloka’i Public Library, Molokai Museum & Cultural Center, and office of Historic Hawaii Foundation. You may also call Leslie Kanoa-Naeole at (808) 567-6802 extension 1101 for assistance.
President Obama signed into legislation on March 30, 2009, the law directing the Secretary of the Interior to authorize the ‘Ohana to establish the Memorial at a location or locations approved by the Secretary to honor and perpetuate the memory of approximately 8,000 individuals who were sent to the Kalaupapa Peninsula from 1866 to 1969 because of government policies regarding leprosy.
The ‘Ohana, a 501(c)3 organization, consists of patient residents at Kalaupapa, family members, long-time friends and professionals working to preserve the history of Kalaupapa. The ‘Ohana have been participating in the development of this EA, as well as the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 process. The Memorial construction will be funded by the ‘Ohana. The ‘Ohana also plan to hold a competition to determine the Memorial design. Consequently, the Kalaupapa Memorial EA and all associated compliance for this project addresses the "footprint" of the Memorial and not the actual design.
Through public consultation, including strong support by the Kalaupapa patients, family members, and members of the general public, two proposed locations for the Memorial have been established.
The locations of the construction alternatives are within the site of the former Old Baldwin Boys’ Home on the Kalawao side of the peninsula. Kalawao was where the original Settlement was established in 1866. Implementation of the preferred alternative would:
Allow the construction of the Memorial at the site preferred by most patients;
Minimize adverse impacts to cultural resources;
Follow NPS Management Policies for Commemorative Works, and
Improve/protect remaining legacy trees and historic open views towards the ocean.
The Old Baldwin Boys’ Home was chosen, in part, because, in accordance with NPS guidelines for the establishment of memorials, it is important that the commemorative work be located in surroundings that are relevant to the subject of the work. At least 2,000 of the 8,000 people who died at Kalaupapa lie in unmarked graves in a field directly across from the former Old Baldwin Home site. The buildings of the Old Baldwin Home were purposely demolished more than 50 years ago, and the site itself has since been disturbed by bulldozing and the encroachment by invasive vegetation. However, despite the previous disturbances, the site remains a prominent cultural resource – listed on the National Register of Historic Places, an archeological site, cultural landscape and part of the greater National Historic Landmark designation.
The NPS, in consultation with the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and interested parties has determined that there will be a No Adverse Effect to cultural resources as long as subsequent Section 106 review is completed and imposed conditions are upheld when a design has been chosen (36 CFR § 800.5(b)).
Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as amended, requires consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that proposed actions do not jeopardize the continued existence of any listed or candidate species or critical habitat. Section 7 consultation will be initiated by sending a copy of this EA to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Honolulu concurrent with the release of this document to the public.
The NPS is allowing a 45 day comment period to compensate for releasing the EA during the busy holiday season. We encourage you to review the Environmental Assessment and send us your comments by February 10, 2011. You may submit comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ or you may mail or hand-deliver comments to the park address that can be found at the bottom of the park's home page. Your comments will be considered as we move toward a final decision.
Stephen Prokop, Superintendent