Haleakala National Park awards 4 tour permits

A couple takes in a sunrise from the Haleakala National Park summit area.
A couple takes in a sunrise from the Haleakala National Park summit area. Photo Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson

The National Park Service has awarded four tour companies permits to operate guided vehicle tours at Maui's Haleakala National Park.

Eco Tours, Polynesian Adventure Tours, Skyline Eco Adventures and Valley Isle Excursions have won the 10-year concessions after a months-long review process. The companies will offer guided vehicle tours to the popular summit area and the park's Kipahulu District.

All of the tour operators  have worked in the park before aside from Skyline Eco Adventure, which has experience on Maui but not operating inside the park.

The Pacific West Regional Director of the NPS led the selection process, and employees of Haleakala were not involved in the the determination.

"We believe the selected concessioners will do an excellent job providing memorable visitor experiences while protecting park resources," Haleakala National Park Superintendent Natalie Gates said in a release announcing the concessions. "We look forward to working with our new partners."

In 2013, after issuing a commercial services plan environmental assessment, the park started a transition from 18 commercial use permits to a maximum four to better manage the area and protect natural resources. The new 10-year contracts will start Jan. 1, 2018.

In February, Haleakala National Park instituted a reservation system to better control the volume of visitors coming for the well-known sunrise vistas from the summit area. The reservation system does not apply to commercial tour operators.

In 2015, over 1.2 million people visited Haleakala National Park, and of those, over 217,000 used commercial services. The park is the most visited tourist attraction on Maui and a contributor to the local economy.
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