WAILUA — Five people were removed from two parcels of state land Wednesday morning. No one was cited or arrested.
Two dozen officers from the Department of Land and Natural Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, the Kauai Police Department, and State Sheriffs were involved. In the weeks leading up to the operation, the squatters were offered services to help them find permanent housing, but they declined.
On unencumbered land adjacent to and behind the former Coco Palms Resort, four people, living in two separate camps, left peacefully after being informed by officers that they were trespassing on closed state property, according to a press release from DLNR.
The squatters were allowed to pack up personal possessions and valuables. What remained, including tents and other camping gear, was collected and loaded into trucks, the release said. That property will be stored for 30 days to allow its owners to reclaim it.
The Kauai Humane Society took custody of five goats that had been tied up along the road leading into the property. Three dogs left with their owners.
At Wailua River State Park, a woman who’d been squatting on state property near one of the Wailua River overlooks had previously been notified she needed to vacate. Officers also allowed her to remove whatever personal possessions she wanted, the release said.
A man identified as her boyfriend was briefly detained when he tried to block entrance to the camp. He was later cited for obstruction of a government operation and will have to make a court appearance.
“When people trespass, and set up illegal long-term camps, they potentially prevent others from beneficial use of the land,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case. “Often and sometimes unwittingly they damage or destroy fragile natural or cultural resources.”