DLNR Seeks Tips From Public On Theft of Solar Panels & Other Items at MacKenzie State Park

Comfort station will be closed indefinitely until replacements, security measures are in place

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is seeking tips from the public that may help enforcement officers identify persons who stole solar panels and other items from MacKenzie State Recreation Area in Puna district this past weekend.

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DLNR’s Division of State Parks has been conducting ongoing improvements at MacKenzie State Recreation Area since early this year that include a new composting comfort station and parking area near the camping sites and road repairs and improvements. Park improvements were to be completed this month.

Unfortunately, this past weekend (April 27-28), the new comfort station sustained property damage and theft of the newly installed solar panels and electrical equipment to operate the composting toilets. As a result, the new comfort station will be closed indefinitely to ensure the completion of repairs and installation of replacements, and security improvements are made.

Some of the items that were stolen are part of a sewage containment system and not of much value to those that have taken them because of the specialized nature of the parts.

It is not yet known how long it will take to find replacement parts and components of the stolen and damaged facilities.

Hawaii County Police Department and DLNR DOCARE enforcement officers are investigating. Estimates on the value of items stolen are pending. Anyone with information about the theft of items is asked to call the DOCARE branch office in Hilo at (808) 974-6208.

MacKenzie State Recreation Area, covering 13.1 acres, is located on Kalapana-Kapono Beach Road (Highway 137), 9 miles northeast of Kaimu. It is a low-cliffed, wild volcanic coastline with picnicking and tent camping in an ironwood grove and known for good shore fishing. An old Hawaiian coastal trail traverses the park. The park has restrooms, camping area, trash cans, but no water and is open daily during daylight hours. There is no entrance fee.

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