WAILUKU >> Park officials have announced that starting in 2018 only four companies will be allowed to bring vehicle-based tours into Haleakala National Park.
The announcement made Tuesday stated Haleakala EcoTours, Polynesian Adventure Tours, Skyline Eco Adventures and Valley Isle Excursions were awarded 10-year contracts to operate in the park, The Maui News reported.
This year, there are 16 tour companies that are allowed to go through the park.
Haleakala National Park officials have been working on reducing the number of tour companies in hopes of lessening visitor impact on the park since 2012. The park is home to the dormant Haleakala Volcano and endangered Hawaiian geese and had over 1.2 million visitors in 2015.
Dropping “to four road-based tour companies allows us to have a longer-term relationship with these companies and provide better protection of our resources,” said Polly Angelakis, the park’s chief of interpretation and education. “Traffic control was a concern.”
The four companies were recommended by an evaluation panel through Park Service’s Pacific West Regional Office and selected by the regional director, Angelakis said.
Next year will the first time Skyline Eco Adventure operates in the park. The companies will have to pay some undetermined franchise fee to enter the park, Angelakis said.