Camping opens Friday at Lydgate

WAILUA — The first statement by Lenny Rapozo, director of the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation, was met with enthusiastic applause Monday during the blessing of the Kamalani pavilion and campgrounds.

Camping will be allowed at the newly dedicated campgrounds starting June 1, he said, triggering applause.

John Martin of the Department of Parks and Recreation said the staff is ready to go, and people interested in obtaining permits for camping at the Lydgate Park campgrounds need to visit the Parks and Recreation office located in the Mo‘ikeha Building, or one of  four neighborhood centers.

Freddy Levinthol, a county plumber, said he wanted to be the first to get a permit after waiting a long time for camping to be allowed at the Lydgate facility.

The newly dedicated Kamalani pavilion is attached to a campsite and not available separately, Rapozo said. He noted that the attached campsite can handle larger groups with a minimum of 20 people and a maximum of 200, which makes it ideal for groups such as the Boy Scouts.

Carol Yotsuda of the Van Go! project said the pavilion features 15 panels of student artwork from students island-wide. The project required a lot of coordination with Avery Youn, the project architect, and a lot of sponsorships, Yotsuda said.

“The total (art) project came in at about $30,000 and spanned two years,” Yotsuda said. “But that is a bargain because in other places, a similar project would run at least $150,000.”

Yotsuda said the heart of the project can be summed up by a comment made by Kekaha Elementary School fourth-grader. While working on the artwork, the student asked another student, “Eh, you going bring your grandkids to see this when you get old?”

Some of the contributors who helped make the art project take shape included the Florence Iwamoto Kaua‘i Fund, the Rotary Club of Po‘ipu Beach, Peter Sterne, Kukui‘ula Development Co., Honu Group-Princeville, Kapa‘a Middle School PTSA, John Wehrheim, Paul Weisman, Stanny Callaghan, Jan Elizabeth, Jhamandas Watamull Fund, Alexander & Baldwin, Big Save, Ceramics Hawai‘i and Maka. The project was coordinated through the Van Go! program.

Camping permit fees are $3 per adult, per night for non-residents and free for Hawai‘i residents who can show proof of residency, according to the kauai.gov website. Children under the age of 18 years can camp for free but must camp with at least one adult 18 years of age or older.

Permits are available during office hours from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are available at the Parks main office as well as at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center, the Kaumakani Neighborhood Center, the Kapa‘a Neighborhood Center and the Kilauea Neighborhood Center, according the county website.

A request for camping permit may be printed out from the county website, but must be filled out and mailed in for processing. Visit www.kauai.gov for more information.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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