The Maui News - The state is bringing back a popular volunteer program in which people help educate visitors and residents about South Maui's fragile and almost pristine 'Ahihi-Kina'u Natural Area Reserve, which was established in 1973.
The state Board of Land and Natural Resources last month approved the management plan for the reserve that state officials say will preserve, protect and enhance the biological and cultural resources of the reserve for current and future generations.
The reserve encompasses around 2,000 acres and includes ocean and land areas. It contains coral reefs, unique anchialine pools, native shrub land and lava flows.
Visitors led to the reserve by guidebooks were damaging natural areas such as lava flows and fragile ocean pools.
"I can't overstate how important they (the volunteers) are," said Sarah Bott, the volunteer coordinator for the reserve.
Now, there are four trained volunteers, also known as interpretive guides, but Bott said officials want to have around 40 volunteers. They can help make sure snorkelers stay off the reef and out of restricted areas, as well as help people best enjoy the reserve.
For an overview of the plan, go online to hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw/nars/reserves/maui/ahihi-kinau-management-plan-and-working-group.
To volunteer at the reserve, contact Bott at Sarah.V.Bott@hawaii.govor call 264-7891