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Overall, the archeological resources of the study area have been found to constitute a significant material record of the indigenous Hawaiian occupation of the dry southeastern coastal zone of the island of Maui. The several complexes of sites and features found in the study area are the archeological expressions of the traditional Hawaiian community activities and settlement patterns possible in this type of climate and setting. The complexes in the study area compare favorably with those of Maui and the other Hawaiian islands in the general state of their preservation, and their potential for research and interpretation.

The archeological resources of the study area have been found to be of significance at the state level. However, they do not appear to meet criteria for nomination to national historic landmark designation.

Geology and Soils. The study area contains no geological features of significance. The lava flows which make up the entire study area represent only a very small segment of the Hana volcanic series, which covers a sizable portion of East Maui. The significance of the lava flows within the study area lies primarily on their young geologic age. However, the lava flow of about 1790, the most recent on Maui, lies just outside of the study area. The lower portions of this flow are within the already protected Ahihi-Kinau NAR. The geological resources of the study area are judged to be of local significance.
Caves. A single cave system is known to exist within the study area. Such ecosystems are extremely rare on Maui. Although not yet subject to any detailed study, biologists believe this cave system may contain unique cave-adopted invertebrates. Biologists also believe that more and similar cave systems exist within the study area. Based on the possible existence of additional cave systems, the cave resources of the study area may be of statewide significance.
Vegetation. The study area contains a single site of the extremely rare `Akoko (Chamaesyce celastroides) Coastal Dry Shrubland community. There is also a very small population of the rare herb `ihi (Portuluca villosa) and a large population of the rare mai`apilo shrub (Capparis sandwichiana). The mai`apilo is considered to be rare on the other main Hawaiian islands. Both the native mai`opilo and the native `ili are currently candidate species for endangered status. The presence of rare native plants plus the presence of a very small population of `Akoko may give certain portions of the study area significance in terms of native vegetation at the state level.
Wildlife. Native wildlife species known within the study area are very limited and have little significance.
Anchialine Pools. Anchialine pools are an aquatic ecosystem found only in the Hawaiian Islands. They contain an unusual and unique complement of aquatic plants and animals. On the island of Hawaii, the majority of the anchialine pools are located along the west coast. On Maui, anchialine ponds are found only along the southwest coast, both within the study area and within the adjacent Ahihi-Kinau NAR. The anchialine pool community identified within the study area provides habitat for the endemic pool shrimp, Metabetaeus lohena, a candidate for endangered species status. The anchialine pool within the study area is judged to be of island-wide significance. There are likely additional as yet undiscovered anchialine pools located within the study area which would increase its significance for this particular resource.
Aeolian Ecosystems. The barren a`a lava flows of the study area provide suitable habitat for aeolian insects. Similar aeolian ecosystems are common on the Big Island and not rare on the island of Maui. Aeolian ecosystems occur on lava flows at both low and high elevations. Another and perhaps better example of a low-altitude aeolian ecosystem is found adjacent to the study area within the Ahihi-Kinau NAR. The aeolian ecosystem of the study area is judged to be of regional significance.
To prevent inadvertent damage to archeological features, camping in the study area should be restricted to designated areas.
To prevent inadvertent damage to archeological features, camping in the study area should be restricted to designated areas.
Coral Reefs and Marine Resources. The 2002 survey of offshore waters found the study area's coral reef to be very high in species richness and, except for one location, in pristine condition. The widespread presence of coral-eating fishes and algal assemblages were judged to be indicators of a diverse, healthy coral reef community. The coral reefs compared favorably to those found elsewhere in the Hawaiian Islands. Consequently, the coral reef resources of the study area have been found to be of state-wide significance.
Recreational Resources. Based on the sensitivity and fragility of the cultural and marine resources present, the study area and its adjacent offshore waters have only limited potential for the outdoor recreation activities. Suitable outdoor recreation activities could include hiking, cultural and nature walks, camping, kayaking, snorkeling and fishing. Camping opportunities, however, should be restricted to those areas where cultural resources would not be adversely affected. Fishing, snorkeling and diving opportunities in the study area should be based on a scientifically established ecological carrying capacity for the marine and coral reef resources. Due to the presence of numerous and significant Hawaiian archeological sites and features, access to the study area by motor vehicles should not be allowed. The recreational resources of the study area appear to be at least of island-wide significance.
Summary Evaluation of Significance. Based on an evaluation of the resources present in the study area, the Hawaiian archeological resources appear to be the most significant. The other known terrestrial resources present within the study area--historical, geological and biological--appear to be of lesser significance. The Hawaiian archeological sites and features found within the study area are judged to be of statewide significance, but not to be of national significance. The archeological resources of the study area do not appear to represent an outstanding example of a particular type of resource, nor do they appear to possess exceptional value in illustrating the heritage of the nation in archeology.

Notwithstanding the ongoing problem of visitors impacting archeological sites within the study area, these resources still retain integrity as an example of traditional Hawaiian community activities and settlement patterns. The study area continues to offer opportunities for public enjoyment and scientific research. Public enjoyment in the form of visitor use, however, needs to be managed and controlled for the protection of the archeological and natural resources found within the study area. Moreover, there are opportunities present in the study area for in-depth archeological research concerning subjects such as traditional Hawaiian fishing techniques and water use, patterns of domestic activity and variations and similarities among ahupua`a.


Rarity of This Type of Resource (Suitability)

The types of geological resources and nearly all of the types of biological resource values found in the study are already more than adequately represented by existing units of the national park system in Hawaii such as Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Pu`uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, Kalaupapa National Historical Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Haleakala National Park. Although significant at the state level, the archeological features and complexes found in the study area, singly or as a group, do not display the level of significance found at Pu`uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park or at Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site. However, in comparison with most Hawaiian archeological sites, several of the "villages" and several of their constituent house structures are well suited for interpretation. The village clusters consist of small, compact groups of clearly-defined, stone-walled enclosures, platforms and terraces.

The marine resources, including coral reefs, found in the offshore waters within Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park and Kalaupapa National Historical Park are likely to be the equal of those known within the study area. The study area, therefore, does not meet the test of suitability as an addition to the national park system.

Feasibility for Addition to the National Park

The study area possesses only limited feasibility as a unit of the national park system. Its location, size and configuration would give a management entity the ability to control access and protect resources. Land acquisition costs would not be prohibitive since nearly all of the study area is already in public ownership. These factors all contribute to a determination of feasibility. However, two conditions are present which make the study area infeasible as an addition to the national park system. First, more than 80 percent of the lands and all of the offshore waters within study area are owned and under the jurisdiction of the State of Hawaii and, second, the lands are all ceded lands.

The ownership of ceded lands by the State of Hawaii is questioned by advocates for some form of Hawaiian sovereignty who believe these lands belong to Native Hawaiians and should be returned to them. Even if the State of Hawaii were willing to favorably consider allowing NPS to manage and operate the study area for national park purposes, the presence of ceded lands would make this problematic at best. The ownership of nearly all of the study area lands by the State of Hawaii and the controversy which continues to exist over who rightfully owns ceded lands do not contribute to its feasibility for being established by Congress as a unit of the national park system.

The term "ceded lands" is applied to some 1.75 million acres of what originally were Government and Crown lands under the Kingdom of Hawaii that the Republic of Hawaii ceded to the United States when Hawaii was annexed in 1898. The Joint Resolution of Congress annexing Hawaii "cede[d] and transfer[red] to the United States the absolute fee and ownership of all public, Government and Crown lands.....belonging to the Government of the Hawaiian Islands, together with every right and appurtenance thereto appertaining." When Hawaii was admitted to the Union in 1959, territorial (ceded) lands were transferred to the State of Hawaii. Notwithstanding the above, at the present time, advocates of Hawaiian sovereignty believe these "ceded" lands were reserved by the sovereign and held for the benefit of all Hawaiian people, and that these lands are unalienable. Their view is that ceded lands should be returned to the Native Hawaiians.
Evaluation of Resource Significance
Archeological Resources. As noted, five separate archeological investigations have been conducted within the study area, going back to 1916. Consequently, the Hawaiian archeological resources there have been well documented. About 34 individual sites containing more than 1,000 features have been recorded. Even so, archeologists believe there are as many as twice the known number of features within the study area that remain unrecorded.
The archeological sites and features within the study area have been found to constitute a significant material record of the presence of early Hawaiians.
The archeological sites and features within the study area have been found to constitute a significant material record of the presence of early Hawaiians.