Lyon Arboretum Closes Doors to Public

Serious health and safety concerns cited

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Aug 27, 2004

The University of Hawaiʻi today announced that it is closing the Lyon Arboretum to the general public because of serious health and safety concerns. The 194-acre site in upper Mānoa valley will not be accessible to the public effective the end of today, Friday, August 27.

In January, university officials received notice from staff members of the arboretum that there were significant health and safety issues endangering the well-being of the staff and general public. As a result of initial findings from a preliminary investigation of the arboretum‘s structures and infrastructure conducted by the university, three cottages were closed. However, it has since been determined that more action needs to be taken.

"Although we have closed the three structures, we are not convinced that all of the health and safety problems have been addressed," said Jim Gaines, UH Interim Vice President for Research. "We are reluctantly closing the facility to public access pending a more in-depth inspection and review of the buildings and grounds."

Health and safety concerns include structural stability of some buildings, electrical shortcomings and safety of pathways.

If remedial action is needed, the university will work with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to restore the Lyon Arboretum.

"We deeply regret the inconvenience caused by the closure of the arboretum, but it is clearly in the best interest of the public to do this at this time," said Gaines.

For information about upcoming classes, educational programs and other activities that were scheduled to take place at the Lyon Arboretum, call (808) 988-0456.


The Harold L. Lyon Arboretum is an independent organized research unit within the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa that facilitates and conducts research, instruction, and public service in tropical biology and horticulture. Originally established by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association in 1918, the arboretum is located on a 194-acre site in upper Mānoa valley that includes greenhouses, laboratories, classrooms and an herbarium. The arboretum also houses living plant collections, comprising about 15,000 accessions that encompass more than 6,000 species, varieties, and cultivars.

It is the only university arboretum in the United States located in a tropical rainforest, and it has one of the largest collections of palms of any botanical garden in the world. Emphasis is placed on Native Hawaiian plants, including research on propagation and restoration of endangered species, on restoration of Hawaiian ecosystems, and on ethnobotany of the Hawaiian islands.