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Nearly Eleven Tons of Rubbish Removed From Kalalau in 2017

Since the first of this year, DLNR Division of State Parks maintenance staff on Kaua‘i have gathered, bagged, and airlifted 10.92 tons of rubbish from the Kalalau section of the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park.  At least monthly, regular clean-up operations, have resulted in between 520 pounds and 2380 pounds of trash and waste being airlifted by helicopter out of the area. During some months maintenance crews conducted two-to-four operations.

“Clearly this huge quantity of rubbish was not carried in on the backs of people who obtained permits to hike the 11 miles into Kalalau,” said State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. “Over the past two years we’ve made significant progress in dismantling illegal, long-term camps both at Kalalau beach and in more remote locations in Kalalau Valley. In collaboration with the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), we’ve made it very clear that we have zero tolerance for illegal activity in our state’s largest and most remote state park,” Cottrell added.

In June alone, during five clean-up days, helicopters sling-loaded nearly seven thousand pounds of trash and waste out of Kalalau. Human waste is shoveled into barrels out of composting toilets in the designated camping area fronting Kalalau beach and flown out for proper treatment and disposal.  State Park staff continues to be concerned about environmental degradation and health risks associated with people defecating in the forest and along the streams in the park and the associated impacts to archeological sites from being modified for camping uses.   “These are the critical reasons diligent attention must be directed to eliminating illegal activity at Kalalau and elsewhere in the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park.  As an example, by enforcing the limit of campers to the allowed 60 people each night, the composters should function as designed and our maintenance crew can turn their priorities to other site enhancements,” Cottrell said.

Regular monthly maintenance operations are conducted not only to clean-up the rubbish left at illegal camps and to remove human waste, but also to trim weeds, maintain signs and camp trails, and restock comfort stations.  The Division of State Parks plans to renew its request to the Hawai‘i State Legislature next year for permanent staffing at Kalalau to ensure higher quality of maintenance of the park’s wilderness character, protect cultural sites and to provide visitor information, as well as to maintain communications capability in case of emergencies and to report illegal activities to enforcement.

CRACKDOWN – 17 People Arrested for Closed Area Violations at Kalalau

Seventeen people were arrested at the Kalalau Section of the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, during a pair of law enforcement sweeps earlier this week. Officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) arrested people without valid permits for being in a closed area. They believe among the 17, were three people who’d been illegally residing in Kalalau Valley for long periods of time.

DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell said, “We continue to hear about a lot of illegal activity at Kalalau through social media channels. Some of the behavior depicted on blogs and websites is brazen, clearly illegal, disrespectful to the Hawaiian culture, damaging to natural resources, and completely devoid of any appreciation for the wilderness character of the Napali Coast.”

DOCARE Kaua‘i Branch Chief Francis “Bully” Mission added, “The designated camping areas at Kalalau Beach are largely free of illegal camps, but there are still numbers of them up in the valley, where they tend to be remote and often pretty well hidden. It makes it challenging for our officers, but we remain committed to stopping illegal behavior in this wilderness park.”

Enforcement operations to the Napali Coast are expensive, complicated, and time-consuming not only for DOCARE, but also for the DLNR Division of State Parks. It conducts at least monthly air-lifts of accumulated rubbish and human waste. Both Chief Farrell and State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell noted that as Hawai‘i’s largest and most remote state park, funding has never been provided for having any full-time staff assigned to the Napali Coast.

Cottrell observed, “If there’s any silver lining to what law breakers are posting on social media, is that it’s caused significant public outrage. Our hope is to get new positions and funding authorized specifically dedicated to the Napali Coast to tackle this ongoing issue.”

DOCARE and State Parks are continuing to collaborate on future law enforcement and clean-up operations as resources permit. Officers continue to take a hard line against anyone contacted who can’t produce a permit. “No permit and you will be arrested and then have to appear in court,” Chief Farrell said.

Travel from the Kalalau Trailhead at Ke’e Beach does not require a permit to Hanakapiai Stream; the first two miles of the trail and another two miles, up valley after the stream crossing to Hanakapiai Falls. The nine miles of coastline trail beyond the stream crossing requires an overnight permit, obtainable from State Parks.

Malama the Napali Coast Media Clips from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes Will Charge for Camping Starting November 1

Starting November 1, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will charge for all overnight camping as part of a plan to meet national standards for parks with similar visitor amenities.

Kīlauea aglow from its summit crater is visible from Kulanaokuaiki Campground. Photo/Jacob W. Frank

Kīlauea aglow from its summit crater is visible from Kulanaokuaiki Campground. Photo/Jacob W. Frank

For backcountry camping, a $10 fee will be charged per trip, in addition to the park entrance fee. All eight backcountry campsites (Ka‘aha, Halapē, Keauhou, ‘Āpua Point, Nāpau, Pepeiao Cabin, Red Hill Cabin and Mauna Loa Cabin) require a permit, with a stay limit of three consecutive nights at one site. Campers can move to another backcountry site for the fourth night, but no more than seven consecutive nights per trip will be allowed.

A camper enjoys the shade at Halapē. Photo/Jacob W. Frank

A camper enjoys the shade at Halapē. Photo/Jacob W. Frank

Permits must be obtained no more than 24 hours in advance from the Backcountry Office, open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fees for backcountry camping can be paid in person at the Backcountry Office, or online through pay.gov. Call (808) 985-6178 for more information.

Tent camping at ‘Āpua Point along the coast at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo/Jacob W. Frank

Tent camping at ‘Āpua Point along the coast at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo/Jacob W. Frank

Kulanaokuaiki Campground, a drive-in, front-country campsite off Hilina Pali Road, will cost $10 a night per site, with a stay limit of seven consecutive nights, and a maximum of six people per site. The nine designated campsites at Kulanaokuaiki have picnic tables and tent pads, and are available on a first-come basis. Fees for Kulanaokuaiki can be paid at the campground’s self-registration station. Checkout time is 11 a.m.

The new camping permit fees are similar to other public camping fees statewide. At Kulanaokuaiki, campers who hold the Interagency Senior (Golden Age) and Golden Access passes pay $5 per site.

Picnicing at the Kulanaokuaiki Campground. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

Picnicing at the Kulanaokuaiki Campground. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

Nāmakanipaio Campground off Highway 11 is managed by Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC and is under its own fee structure.

Pets are not permitted in any of the campgrounds, except for leashed pets in Nāmakanipaio Campground. Leashed service animals are allowed.

Parks Department to Issue Kohanaiki Beach Park Camping Permits

Starting Monday, January 6, the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation will begin issuing permits to camp at Kohanaiki Beach Park, also known as “Pine Trees,” located north of Kailua-Kona.

Kohanaiki Beach Park. Photo Courtesy County of Hawaii Parks & Recreation

Kohanaiki Beach Park. Photo Courtesy County of Hawaii Parks & Recreation

People seeking camping permits must apply in person during normal business hours at the Department’s administrative offices located at 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 6 in Hilo and in Building B of the West Hawai‘i Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Highway in Kailua-Kona. A separate announcement will be issued when permits are made available through the Internet.

Camping fees for Hawai‘i County’s 10 other campgrounds will apply to Kohanaiki Beach Park. Nightly camping fees for Hawai‘i residents are $5 for adults, $2 for junior campers 13 to 17 years old, and $1 for children 12 and younger. The nonresident rate is $20 per night, regardless of age. A valid Hawai‘i driver’s license or state-issued identification is required to verify Hawai‘i residency. First and last names of all campers are required for a camping permit to be issued.

Ehawaii.gov also imposes a nonrefundable $1 per-night processing fee for each adult and junior camper. Ehawaii.gov provides the software program for issuing camping permits and collects the processing fee.

Kohanaiki Beach Park features accommodations for up to 80 campers nightly, ocean access, and both permanent and portable restroom facilities. Operating hours are 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Kohanaiki Beach Park is closed to campers each Tuesday and Wednesday.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

 

Permitted Camping to Be Allowed at Kiholo State Park in South Kona

Vehicular access also restored at Kiholo; gate reopens December 9

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has completed an extensive coastal area cleanup at Kiholo State Park Reserve, thanks to strong support from community volunteers, and is now implementing an interim camping management plan to allow for permitted camping in designated areas that are appropriately situated to avoid impacts to cultural sites.

“DLNR recognizes Hawai‘i’s longtime need for recreational shoreline camping, and this interim camping action will eliminate impacts associated with driving on the shoreline,” said William J. Aila, Jr. DLNR Chairperson. “Division of State Parks has now organized camping into a managed and appropriate use at 8 existing sites. This policy will insure that both the quality of the public experience will improve while vastly reducing impact to Kiholo’s valuable resources.” “It is critical that the public honors this management attempt to balance recreational needs with the equally pressing needs of our resources,” Aila said.

The interim camping management strategy and day use policy is as follows:

  • Driving on the beach is not allowed
  • Camping is allowed by permit from Friday through Sunday nights
  • There are 8 designated sites to camp
  • Permits are now available on-line up to 30 days in advance of the camping date, for a standard fee: 1-6 people will cost $13.20, with a maximum of 10 per site costing a total of $22.00 (for Hawai‘i residents.)
  • Permits are available at all State Parks offices or online at: www.hawaiistateparks.org

On October 1, 2011, the Division of State Parks closed the mauka vehicular access gate leading down to Kiholo State Park Reserve in order to conduct an extensive coastal area clean-up and to prepare a highly used area for more controlled and managed vehicular access and authorized camping by permit. The gate will reopen at 7 a.m. on Friday, December 9.

Hui Aloha Kiholo has a Curator Agreement with Division of State Parks for stewardship of Kiholo and has provided tremendous support and collaboration. The Hui recruited and coordinated 178 volunteers over the past two months to support this project.

The Hui, the State Parks West Side crew and a private contractor removed loads of public debris and rubbish, installed 42 new informational and management signs to designate interim campsites and inform about the prohibition of vehicles from driving on the beach.

They installed 48 bollards, approximately 480 feet of cable barriers and assorted boulders and stone wall barricades to prevent vehicular access to the beach, repaired and reactivated an existing gate and installed a new gate, and clarified unimproved access road shoulders and existing footpaths to the 8 interim camping areas.

Aila further noted, “The members of the North Kona community donated the 8 stone fire rings for designated fires that are placed at the newly designated campsites, 3 picnic tables, constructed beautiful dry stack stone wall to prevent vehicle access to the beach, smoothed out existing trails, and bagged loads of rubbish from years of irresponsible recreational use.”

“DLNR deeply appreciates the physical commitment and sheer determination of the Hui Aloha Kiholo and many community volunteers to support the State Parks crew in the effort to malama, clean up, and prepare Kiholo for improved and managed day use and interim camping”

“This type of collaboration and stewardship is exactly what our resources need now and in the future in order to balance public use with preservation” William Aila, DLNR Chairperson

For years, unauthorized camping and unrestricted driving on the beach, (with illegal campers sometimes numbering in the hundreds on three day weekends) has been accelerating the decay and inappropriate public behavior near archaeological sites, the crushing of the smooth ili’ili beach stones into dusty gravel, creating periodically large loads of rubbish and human waste disposal issues, and continually reducing the amount of shoreline trees and shrubs. These detrimental impacts made intervention of this pre-existing daytime use and unauthorized nighttime use critical and necessary.

Under Park Reserve status, the 4,362 acres of land is to be preserved for the public’s future use as a plan is prepared to determine a variety of management options and various public uses.

A Master Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is being prepared to guide the DSP in determining public use and management in a manner that also protects the sensitive cultural history and places of this valuable public resource. Meetings to gather pubic input to this plan have been conducted and will continue in the future on the island of Hawai‘i. The Master Planning/EIS process has included archeological surveys of the Park reserve – providing documented knowledge that the area has a rich history of significant Hawaiian culture still in place that must be protected.