Users of Wailua River meet today to talk usage

A meeting for all interested users of Wailua River is set for 6 p.m. today at the Wailua River State Park, on the Wailua Marina restaurant side of the river.

The public meeting is being called to discuss proposals for safe mutual use of the river by kayakers, canoe paddlers, water skiers, tour-boat and barge operators, swimmers, and other users.

Greg Allen, who lives on the river and is an avid skier, said he and others hope Republican Gov. Linda Lingle will right what they see was the wrong of new administrative rules enacted near the end of former Democratic Gov. Ben Cayetano’s administration that limit areas of skiing and numbers of kayaks allowed on the river.

Allen and his Kaua’i attorney, Glen T. Hale, have prepared a lawsuit against the state for improperly enacting the new administrative rules, but hope they will not have to file it if Lingle acts favorably, Allen continued.

Allen has gathered signatures of some 300 Kaua’i users of the river, urging the state not to enact the rules that were enacted last year.

“We wanted the river left alone,” but understand that some sort of plan is needed to address river congestion caused by multiple users, Allen said. If the state and users joined forces to “manage the river,” a more equitable plan could be arrived at, he feels.

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