A DLNR Division of State Parks employee reports that two people searching for virtual reality Pokemon Go figures wandered into a sensitive heiau on Kauai where a cultural protocol was underway.
DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Unfortunately, we are quickly seeing unintended consequences of this new application by Google, in the outdoor issues that the hunt for Pokemon characters via digital devices can create, for both cultural and natural resources here in Hawai’i and elsewhere.”
In the first week since the release of Pokemon Go, the media has reported on two men walking off a cliff in California while using the app. This increases the potential of increasing public safety and unauthorized access problems for local people and visitors venturing into our state parks, onto our trails and onto beaches, when paying attention to electronics rather than trails and signs.
This phenomenon provides a good opportunity to remind people to practice good outdoor ethics. Curt Cottrell, DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator reminds folks heading into the outdoors:
- Be safe. Use electronic devices responsibly and in emergencies to call for help. Distracted hiking, like distracted driving, can lead to accidents.
- Stay on designated trails. Follow all signs and closures. Do not trespass, or enter natural or cultural areas where access is prohibited.
- Carry out what you carry in. Leave no trace.
“We want and encourage people to enjoy all of the outstanding natural and cultural resources Hawai’i has to offer. Given the release of Pokemon Go, this is an opportune time to remind everyone that these resources can and should be enjoyed in a pono way,” Case concluded.