Early Closures for West Hawaii State Parks on 4th of July

Several West Hawai’i state parks will experience early closures on Independence Day. The DLNR Division of State Parks will close the following parks at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 4:

PC: DLNR

Kekaha Kai State Park, the Manini’owali (Kua Bay) section. The Mahai’ula section will be closed that day.

Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, including the Waialea Bay section.

Lapakahi State Park.

Kiholo State Park Reserve.

Current park hours will resume on Sunday.

The early closure of these facilities is to discourage the use of fireworks, which are prohibited in state parks, and to protect people and the natural resources of the parks.

DLNR UPDATE: Reopening of Hawaii State Parks

The DLNR Division of State Parks is lessening restrictions and reopening park areas in conjunction with various county-specific rules and guidelines. Passive beach use is now allowed at all State Parks beaches, although some gates will remain locked for resource management, people’s safety and due to fiscal constraints. COVID-19 rules and social distancing guidelines remain applicable, following each county’s emergency orders.

Hapuna Beach Park

State Park camping and lodging will be phased in more slowly, again in compliance with county restrictions, but it is anticipated most overnight facilities will be open by July 1. State Park lodging and camping facilities are NOT allowable quarantine locations.

“We are pleased that Hawaiʻi has been so successful in flattening the COVID-19 curve, which allows us to reopen more park areas – particularly some overnight opportunities, which lets families further enjoy Hawaiʻiʻs outdoors”, said State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. “However, please be aware that restrictions on park hours, group size, and certain activities remain in place, and we ask that all parks users adhere to these so we can keep slowly proceeding back to normal”.

Kauaʻi:

  • All Kauaʻi Parks have reopened, including popular lookouts in Kokeʻe/Waimea Canyon and Wailua River State Park.
  • Camping and Lodging in Kokeʻe State Park is now available, subject to COVID-19
    restrictions. Reservations are now open, and limited to a 30-day advance window, and all groups must be members of the same household.
  • Other Kauaʻi camping opportunities remain closed for non-coronavirus reasons (Polihale State Park and Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park), but are anticipated to be available soon, for camping dates opening on June 16.
  • Commercial boat tours, including kayak tours within Wailua River State Park and Zodiac Tours to Nāpali Coast (Nuʻalolo Kai) have been authorized to resume operations, subject to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Polihale State Park remains closed for road repairs.

Oʻahu – Most Oʻahu Park areas are open, but certain areas, such as lookouts prone to crowding, remain closed. Popular hikes are open daily. Waʻahila Ridge Trail and the Makapuʻu Lighthouse Trail are accessible by walk-in daily, with parking gates open on weekends only.

  • Nuʻuanu Pali State Wayside, as well as the crater interior and summit trail at Diamond Head State Monument, remain closed.
  • Kaʻena Point State Park (Mokuleia Section) vehicle access by permit has resumed.
  • Most Oʻahu campsites, subject to COVID-19 restrictions, will reopen Friday, June 12. Reservations are now open, limited to a 30-day advance window, and all groups must be members of the same household. Camping at Mālaekahana State Recreation Area will not open until completion of a large paving project.

Maui:

  • All beach areas within Mākena State Park are now accessible for passive and active use. Visitors should note that there are NO lifeguard services, nor restroom facilities at Mākena and therefore the parking areas will remain closed.
  • Waiʻānapanapa State Park is open for day use and active and passive beach use.
  • ʻIao Valley State Monument remains closed, as well as the Hana Highway State
    Waysides.
  • Overnight lodging for Maui sites is anticipated to reopen on July 1.

Molokaʻi:

  • Palaʻau State Park has reopened for day use.

Hawaii Island:

  • Popular beaches at Hāpuna Beach State Recreation Area and Kekaha Kai State Park are accessible for passive and active beach uses. Hāpuna Beach parking area is open daily, and the Maniniʻōwali (Kua Bay) Section of Kekaha Kai is open to vehicle access on weekends only. Most Hawaiʻi Island Historic Sites remain closed, but openings are anticipated soon.
  • Most Hilo area parks remain closed. The Wailoa Center is scheduled for an early July reopening. ʻAkaka Falls State Park remains closed.
  • Overnight lodging for Hawaiʻi Island sites is anticipated to reopen in mid/late June.

Hawaii County to Reopen Beach Parks Islandwide

The County of Hawai‘i announced on Monday that it will reopen its beach parks islandwide effective May 19, 2020, as the number of active cases of COVID-19 remains low thanks to the efforts of the entire community to stem the spread of the virus.

The Mayor will be unveiling his Rule Number 5 which will officially reopen the County’s beach parks.  The rule also states permitted activities that may occur at these facilities.  

“These beach parks are being reopened for your enjoyment and your wellbeing,” Mayor Harry Kim said. “Please keep up the safe practices of social distancing that helped us get to where we are today.” 

The only exceptions to the reopening are Hakalau Beach Park and Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Park, which have been closed due to necessary improvement work. The Mayor is working with the Department of Parks and Recreation to determine the next phase of County facilities to reopen, such as tennis courts, pickleball courts, etc.

Although the County beach parks will reopen, the threat of COVID-19 is still present and we must do all we can to remain safe. The Mayor said that all beachgoers must follow the safe practices stated in the CDC guidelines and Hawai‘i County Rules.

“Know the importance of staying mentally, physically and social healthy with these rules,” the Mayor said. 

Please keep up your good work as we continue to reopen in a safe way.

For further information, call Civil Defense at 935-0031.

All Hawaii Beaches Closed by Governor’s Proclamation

Governor David Ige today, issued a Fifth Supplementary Proclamation to his Emergency Rules. This one includes limitations on activities outside homes or places of residence and closes all beaches in Hawai‘i. It became clear that many people are continuing to access beaches, waters, and trails for social and recreational activities without proper social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis. Such activity contributes to the risk of spread of coronavirus across the state.

Hapuna Beach

Under these new rules, all beaches are closed, which means no sitting, standing, lying down, lounging, sunbathing, or loitering on beaches and sandbars. People can still cross beaches to access the ocean for outdoor exercise like surfing, solo paddling and swimming as long as social distances are maintained. 

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We encouraged more severe restrictions after our law enforcement officers (DOCARE) and many people noted large groups of people continuing to congregate on beaches in close proximity to one another. Social distancing requirements are necessary for all of us to practice until COVID-19 is brought under control here in Hawai‘i. The Fifth Supplementary Proclamation does include exceptions which will allow people to still get outside and enjoy nature.”

The emergency rules also contain provisions for boating, fishing, and hiking. No more than two people are allowed on any boat in Hawai‘i’s water for recreational purposes, unless they are part of a single residential or family unit sharing the same address. Both people on the boat are required to maintain physical distancing of six-feet from one another, as is reasonably possible. All boats are required to stay 20-feet from one another.

Group hiking on State trails is not allowed, again unless all participants are part of a single residential or family unit sharing the same address. People who want to hike alone, but who want to have another person nearby for safety reasons, are required to maintain a distance of not less than 20-feet from each other.

People can actively engage in fishing and gathering to get food. No groups of two or more people can engage in fishing and gathering in state waters or state lands, unless all in the group are part of a single residential or family unit sharing the same address. 
DLNR is calling on each individual to take personal responsibility to limit the impact they have on their community and self-exposure to essential activities only. If you feel the need to hike, it’s recommend that you first check the Na Ala Hele website:
(https://hawaiitrails.hawaii.gov/

Most up to date guidelines for personal safety and distancing requirements.
(https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus) and (https://health.hawaii.gov/coronavirusdisease2019/

Certain DLNR-managed coastal and trail features are deemed unsuitable for visitation due the inability to achieve the desired social distancing recommendations, remoteness of location exacerbating public safety concerns, and known history of issues such as illegal camping and social gatherings. Please try to stay in or near your own ahupua‘a of residence for your outdoor exercise. For a complete list of closed state parks visit: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/

Violations of the emergency rules are a petty misdemeanor and could result in fines of up to $5,000 and one year in jail, or both.

Hawaii County Mayor’s Office on Japan Tsunami Debris “We are Prepared for Whatever Will Be Washed Up…”

Hawaii County Mayor’s Office on Japan Tsunami Debris “… We are Prepared for Whatever Will Be Washed Up…”

OSHIMA ISLAND, Japan (April 1, 2011) – Debris and homes lay in rubble on Oshima Island, Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Marines with the 31s Marine Expeditionary Unit and Sailors with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group are on Oshima Island to help clear a harbor and assist with cleaning debris from local schools and government buildings in support of Operation Tomodachi. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eva-Marie Ramsaran/released)

Tsunami debris from the March 11th, 8.9 earthquake that destroyed parts of Northern Japan is expected to come ashore to the Hawaii Islands according to recent studies.

Tsunami Debris

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 13, 2011) An aerial view of debris from an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck northern Japan. The debris was inspected by a helicopter-based search and rescue team from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Tidd/Released)

The following two letters were sent in to the Hawaii County Mayor’s office recently regarding the expected debris that will be washing up on Hawaii’s Islands in the next few years:

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 13, 2011) An aerial view of debris from an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck northern Japan. The debris was inspected by a helicopter-based search and rescue team from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord/Released)

Dear Troubleshooter,

Tons of debris from Japan will soon be washing up on our beaches. Literally tons of this, containing whole houses, shoes with feet in them, machines, anything and everything, will be deposited on our beaches that catch these currents. An unknown quantity of this debris will be radioactive, and will pose an attractive danger to the populace. What are you planning to do to address this problem?

Concerned about Debris

In the same mailbag:

Dear Troubleshooter,

I am 12 years old, and I am currently writing an article on the tsunami debris that is floating here from Japan. I was wondering if you have any cleanup and disposal plans in place for when it arrives at our island

Young Writer

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 29, 2011) Recovered boats and debris are on the aft deck of the Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anthony R. Hayes/Released)

The Counties response:

Aloha Concerned and Young,

Mahalo for your inquiries. Yes, we are prepared for whatever will be washed up on our shores and we already have protocols for the various items that have routinely been washing ashore for many, many years. Hawaii County Civil Defense is charged with making sure that items of danger will be cleared from our shorelines.

While we may not initially have personnel on constant lookout for debris, we are confident that those who live, work and play along the shoreline will inform us of dangerous debris, just as they do now when such items wash ashore. Should large amounts of debris begin littering our shorelines, we would likely assign county personnel to make regular inspections and, if necessary, sweeps.

That being said, no one really knows how much debris is in the ocean or how much will end up on our shorelines. While there was an estimated 20 million tons of debris that was washed into the ocean by the March 11 tsunami, it is also estimated that the debris lies in a field 2,000 miles long by 1,000 miles wide. That’s 2 million square miles, or equal to three times the size of Alaska, or roughly the size of Texas, California, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado … multiplied by two.

From what the scientists have said, this will not be the rumored field of debris that someone can walk on, but there certainly will be an increase in the amount of flotsam that comes ashore. The unknown is how much of an increase.

Whatever it is, we will be prepared to make sure our beaches are clean and safe if and when it does arrive.

Two other points:

– Coincidentally, the debris field is expected to hit the West Coast of North America as this article is published, so let’s all keep an eye out for news about the debris field.

– Should you happen to find personal items washed up on shore that may be able to be identified, there are a number of people on the Internet who have offered to try any return them to their owners. Use your discretion before handling items, and before you contact anyone on the Internet.