Hawaii closes nature reserve cliff popular with climbers

WAILUKU — Hawaii has closed access to a cliff face in a nature reserve over concerns that rock-climbing activities are threatening native plant species.

The Maui News reported Tuesday that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources approved the cliff closure in the West Maui Natural Area Reserve.

Officials say the closure will continue for up to two years.

The state Division of Forestry and Wildlife requested the change to protect rare and endangered plants on the cliff and in the surrounding area.

Officials say rock climbers have modified geological features by installing hardware and chipping footholds into the cliff and disturbed fragile plants while hiking to the area.

Members of Maui’s rock-climbing community say they wish the state had worked with them rather than restricting access.

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Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

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