|Tuesday, Mar 25, 2008|
On March 18th, the National Park Service announced that the moratorium on commercial downhill bicycle rides within the park will continue pending a full evaluation of all impacts from the activity in the parkâs commercial services plan. The National Park Service also released the findings of the board of review that was commissioned to evaluate the safety of the bicycle tour operations.
âThe stand down remains in effect,â said superintendent Marilyn H. Parris, âand I have met with representatives of the five bicycle companies that held downhill tour permits in the park to discuss this decision.â
The five bicycle tour companies will be authorized to conduct van tours within the park under a commercial use authorization while the NPS completes the commercial services plan. The stand down, which went into effect last October 10th following a bicycle tour client fatality, called for a professional safety analysis to be followed by a board of review.
âThe board of review found that the in-park commercially guided downhill bicycle tours, as managed prior to October 10, 2007, posed an unacceptably high risk to park visitors,â said Parris.
The board, whose members included National Park Service professionals and an ex officio member from the county of Maui, suggested that additional management and operational changes to the tours might mitigate risk to park visitors to an acceptable level. The board directed the park to research the suggested changes and determine whether they could realistically be applied.
âMy staff has completed the report recommended by the board of review and has determined that the suggested changes go beyond just safety issues and will affect a number of other visitor uses and park management practices at the park,â Parris added. âConsistent with NPS policy and applicable legal authorities, the park must evaluate these impacts in order to determine their impacts upon the operations, resources and values of the park. The commercial service plan process is the best tool to do thisâ
The plan is a public process used to determine the future of all commercial services in the park and how they will be managed. It typically looks at what commercial activities are ânecessary and/or appropriate for public use and enjoymentâ in accordance with NPS management policies of the park.
The safety analysis report, the board of review report, the park findings, and the superintendentâs findings, entitled Decision on Implementation of Board of Review Findings and Recommendations Concerning Safety Analysis of Commercially Guided Downhill Bicycle Tours at Haleakala National Park, are available at www.nps.gov/hale/