In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) undertook fencing, road building and visitor facilities on Mauna Kea. In 1943, construction of a road from Hilo to what would become the Pōhakuloa Training Area began. After the end of World War II, the Saddle Road, as it was called, was extended to Waimea, greatly improving access to the south side of Mauna Kea. In 1964, the first road to the summit, a “jeep road” was completed, and in July of that year, the Lunar and Planetary Station, located on the summit of Pu‘u Poli‘ahu was opened
Observatories are an ‘identified land use’ in the Conservation District. The Institute for Astronomy (IfA) was founded at the University of Hawai‘i (UH) in 1967 to manage the Haleakala Observatory on Maui and to guide the development of the Mauna Kea Observatories on Hawaiʻi Island. In 1968 Governor John A. Burns established the Mauna Kea Science Reserve. The astronomy precinct, where 13-existing telescopes are located, delineates the area of development of astronomy facilities, roads, and support infrastructure. The Onizuka Center for International Astronomy located at Hale Pōhaku has living facilities for up to 72 people working at the summit.