Saturday, April 29, 2017

Military grants civilians access to historic Haputo Beach

Have you ever hiked to a remote latte village at the heart of Haputo Beach? If not, you now have the chance to thanks to a new public access program by the United States military, which allows civilians to visit cultural sites throughout military installations. It's an archaeological gold mine along Marine Corps Activity Guam.
The site was first occupied probably about 2,000 years ago in the pre-latte period - the actual latte stones, latte being two-part stone columns, the capstone and the shaft, or the tasa and the haligi, were erected less than 1,000 years ago. The Haputo Beach latte village is precious both for its cultural and biological resources. "There are roughly 23 latte sets in this area, as well as three endangered snails and one endangered butterfly," said Ronnie Rogers.

The hike to the area is slow in order to protect against damage or harm to the environment supporting these endangered species. Rogers, a Marine Corps Activity Guam cultural resource specialist, said the village was also home to one of the principal Chamorro opponents of the Spanish colonization. "It's a very important village and there's a lot of information that we do have and a lot more potential for more information in here, but we have to balance the concerns of cultural and natural resources to even get here," said Rogers.
The site is one of dozens listed in a new military public access program. Public access program coordinator Dave Snyder said, "There are 44 sites listed in the plan, there's nine that you don't have to have any buddy take you to."
For those sites which do require a buddy, interested applicants can apply to visit the sites by sending in required documentation. "And then I take groups of up to seven onto the military base and we go to places like latte sets, we go see an old B-52 that was blown off the runway at Anderson, or we go to Tarague," he said.  "Haputo is one of the crown jewels of our program and other places like Spanish steps or Tarague are also very beautiful."
Snyder said the program aims to increase access, and benefit locals who have faced increased restrictions since the 9/11 terror attacks. "A lot of people have memories of coming here, or their grandfather's ranch was on a certain part of Andersen or something so we're hopeful we'll be able to offer the community something they've been missing," he said.
For more information you can contact Snyder at 355-2013 or DAVID.L.SNYDER@FE.NAVY.MIL.

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