No more free hikes for commercial tours

Good for state officials and their plans to start making private operators play

by the rules when conducting hiking tours on public land.

According to the

state Department of Land and Natural Resources, as many as eight commercial

enterprises advertise their hikes-for-a-fee on Kaua’i on the Internet. Yet none

of the outfits have the mandatory state permits for such ventures.

Enough’s

enough, says DLNR. If companies want to make money off Kauai’s network of

trails that afford world-class scenery, then they should follow the regulations

that are in place for monitoring the businesses and controlling the

environmental impact.

Taking that a step further, tour operators should

also be required to give a percentage of their business receipts to a fund for

maintaining the trails. Nothing against free enterprise, but when it’s at the

expense of public-held land, there’s an obligation to share for the common

good. That’s especially important on Kaua’i, home of half of the state’s

DLNR-controlled land and a constant struggle by state officials to keep trails

and other public land from slipping into disrepair from overuse.

The state

is well within its right to make tour operators toe the line. Any operators who

don’t like it can take a hike.

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