Editorial for Friday — September 05, 2003

• Beach access – PMRF


Beach access – PMRF

As development continues to creep in along the Island’s coastline beach access is becoming more and more of an issue for local residents.

In today’s issue of The Garden Island the latest developments regarding beach access at the Pacific Missile Range Facility are reported.

Inquiries by The Garden Island on the issue follow a strong showing of Westside residents concerned about access to the base for recreational surfing and fishing at a community meeting held by Congressman Ed Case.

Movement on resolving community concerns over the issue took place this week with Mayor Bryan Baptiste conferring with PMRF base commander Navy Captain Robert J. Connelly on the issue.

Connelly has told The Garden Island that he is working hard to open up more access to the Major’s Bay area, while further explaining the security measures needed to safeguard against possible terrorism attacks and other intrusions to secured areas of the base following the terrorists attacks of 9/11.

The story of beach access at PMRF is just one in a growing list that includes Kilauea, Papa‘a Bay and other locations mostly on the Eastside of Kaua‘i.

Once lost, beach access is a hard route to regain. While the constitution of the State of Hawai‘i guarantees that all beaches in Hawai‘i are open to the public, how you get to all the beaches can become problematic.

As Kaua‘i becomes more developed, this issue is sure to grow.

The solution is a community-wide one, requiring the good will of developers and government agencies, as well as members of the community. This isn’t the Kaua‘i of 20 or 50 years ago when access to most beaches was wide open.

Like California, many choice coastal areas now have landowners who have limited the wide-open access of the past.

Generally, these landowners have worked with public officials to guarantee fairly good access.

Those questioning the Navy’s restriction on access have valid points, which apparently are being taken up by the base commander, as well as Congressman Case and Mayor Baptiste.

The Garden Island will stay on top of developments in regards to recreational access to PMRF.

In addition, watch for more coverage on beach access problems at other locations on Kaua‘i.

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