These are Kauai’s “love locks,” part of a worldwide tradition of lovers declaring their dedication to one another and sealing their eternal commitment with a lock.
The lovers throw the key away, but idea is that the locks remain — at least until they are removed by state personnel. That happened on Oct. 16 and 94 locks were removed.
“Placing ‘love locks’ on fences, bridges and public structures is a serious and unsightly littering problem that promotes rusting and the decay of metal infrastructure which will weaken the safety fencing at our State Parks,” said Curt Cottrell, State Parks administrator for the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources.
It seems the location of the locks, which is limited to the Waimea Canyon lookout, has to do with the type of fencing and railings and Cottrell said State Parks hasn’t received any reports of locks elsewhere on Kauai.
“We can try to address this through railing design moving forward,” Cottrell said. “People must respect the natural and cultural aspect of Hawaii’s special places and not add unsightly, damage-causing features such as locks.”
The placement of the locks is also considered littering, according to state law.
“State Parks will remove these as soon as these are placed,” Cottrell said.
Following the “leave no trace” rule is one way to prevent the destruction of Kauai’s natural resources, said Nalani Brun, tourism and operations manger with the county’s department of economic development.
“On Kauai, we celebrate love in so many ways, often enveloped in the beauty of our natural surroundings,” Brun said. “Thus, keeping our parks as pristine as possible is of utmost importance, and following the ‘leave no trace’ rule would help to prevent the degradation of our natural resources.”