Maunakea Stewardship

Center for Maunakea Stewardship (CMS)

Foothills of Maunakea, in winter

The Center for Maunakea Stewardship (CMS) is responsible for day-to-day management of the Maunakea Science Reserve as prescribed in the Master Plan. CMS was established in August 2020 and combines the Office of Maunakea Management (created in 2000 as directed by the Mauna Kea Master Plan 2000) and Maunakea Observatories Support Services and formalizes the collaborative roles for the UH Institute for Astronomy and UH Hilo ʻImiloa Astronomy Center. See the UH Commitment to Maunakea and Hawaiʻi for more information.

Maunakea hosts one of the largest and finest ground based astronomical observing sites in the world. The high altitude, atmospheric stability, minimal cloud cover, low humidity, minimal atmospheric pollutants, and the transparency of the atmosphere to infrared radiation makes Maunakea an unparalleled location for astronomy. In the 1960’s, Hawaiʻi Island community business leaders initiated a major effort to attract astronomy to the mountain. In 1964 a small testing dome was built on Puʻupoliʻahu, initiating Maunakea as a modern day astronomical site. In 1968 Governor John A. Burns established the Maunakea Science Reserve, and through a lease with the Department of Land & Natural Resources the University of Hawaiʻi was granted the authority to operate the Science Reserve as a scientific complex. Most land on Maunakea above approximately 8,000 ft (2,430 m) is state-owned and managed by the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources or the University of Hawaiʻi (UH). The UH manages three parcels: the mid-level facilities at Halepōhaku, the Summit Access Road and its management corridor, and the Maunakea Science Reserve which includes the Astronomy Precinct.

For more on the history and management of Maunakea, see the Master plans and CMP here.