The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is closing state forest and park areas on the islands of Hawaii and Maui, in anticipation of the effects of tropical storm Darby this weekend.
DLNR is asking for the public’s cooperation with this announcement of area closures as the storm approaches. Additional closures for Oahu and Kauai may follow over the weekend, and updates will be provided to news media and on the department’s website.
People are advised to avoid forested and coastal areas due to potential for rising streams, flash flooding, falling trees or high surf as well as ocean water surging and sweeping across beaches and rocky coastal benches and lava flows. High surf may create the potential for impacts to coastal properties and infrastructure, including roadways. Powerful longshore and rip currents will be present at most beaches.
DLNR areas closing on Friday, July 22:
HAWAII ISLAND –
Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will close by 3 p.m. today all forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural area reserves, Na Ala Hele hiking trails, forest campgrounds and game management areas, includingKeanakolu cabins, Ainapo hiking trail, Muliwai trail and Waimanu valley campground until further notice. Camping permits for this weekend are cancelled until further notice. Saturday’s planned cattle hunt will be cancelled.
Division of State Parks is closing its park campgrounds, pavilions and cabins today. All Big Island parks will remain closed on Saturday and will not re-open until conditions warrant.
Persons holding camping and cabin permits for this weekend were notified by staff, and offered a refund or an alternate date. An email blast to Kealakekua Bay kayak permit holders was issued to inform them of the approaching storm.
Those with reservations continuing on Monday, should check with the Hawaii parks office on Monday morning.
MAUI COUNTY –
Division of Forestry and Wildlife will close by 3 p.m. today all of its managed lands, including forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural area reserves, Na Ala Hele hiking trails, game management areas; this closure also affects Polipoli State Park (persons with camping permits are being notified).
Division of State Parks – Parks will remain open Friday. They will be closed on Saturday and remain closed until conditions warrant re-opening.
Forestry and Wildlife – Oahu forest areas and trails will remain open on Friday, and on Saturday also, unless weather conditions warrant closing.
State Parks – Oahu parks will remain open on Friday, and on Saturday also, unless weather conditions warrant closing. Due to storm staffing the gates to Makua beach will not be opened today and will remain closed for the weekend. Organizers of a 5-K run at Sand Island State Recreation Area scheduled for Sunday will be notified if the park will be closed.
Forestry and Wildlife — Kauai forest areas and trails will remain open on Friday, and on Saturday also, unless weather conditions warrant closing.
State Parks (and Kalalau trail) – No changes at this time. Storm conditions will be monitored and closures will be announced as required.
DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) does not plan to close any state small boat harbors but is advising boaters to monitor VHF radio for Coast Guard information on port closures and other safety advisories. Large breaking waves and strong currents may impact harbor entrances and channels causing challenging boat handling. The Coast Guard reminds recreational boaters to secure boats and boating equipment. Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to protected marinas where they are less likely to break free of their moorings or be otherwise damaged. It may be advisable for smaller boats to be pulled from the water and stored in a location not prone to high winds or flooding. Regardless of location, all loose items aboard vessels need to be secured or removed.
Tropical storm Darby is an evolving storm system whose track and intensity may be affected by various weather factors. People should heed weather reports and be ready in event of emergency situations, including power or water outages and flooded or blocked roads.
DLNR also urges people to follow instructions of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HEMA) and County Civil Defense agencies to prepare for arrival of tropical storm Darby, with forecasts of heavy rain, lightning strikes, flooding, strong winds, large surf and coastal surge in Hawaii as early as Friday. A high surf advisory was in effect for Maui and Hawaii island from 6 p.m. Thursday evening to 6 a.m. Friday. A high surf warning will be in effect for east-facing shores of Maui and Hawaii island from 6 a.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Sunday.
Visitors to Hawaii should heed all warnings from lifeguards and public health and safety officials. Although weather conditions may appear favorable, rip tides and high surf often impact beaches far in advance of the actual storm. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to strong storm-generated waves and currents. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches and out of the water until local officials say the water is safe. Near shore waters may become contaminated due to runoff up to several days following a storm.