HAENA — Thirty parking spots will be dedicated daily to Hawaii residents at Ha‘ena State Park and according to officials, reservations for Aloha State residents won’t be required.
And, the rules apply to all Hawaii residents, not just Kauai residents.
Though the road is reopening May 1, Ha‘ena State Park, Napali Coast State Wildlerness Park, Kalalau Trail and Limahuli Gardens will all remain closed into June.
So, there isn’t going to be anything open — no facilities, and no parking available at those areas until they open. Parking isn’t allowed along the road and fines for violating that parking mandate will be $200.
When Ha‘ena State Park does reopen, it will be with a new parking lot with 100 stalls — 70 for visitors to reserve online and 30 for Hawaii residents.
“It’ll be first come, first served,” said Joel Guy of The Hanalei Initiative, who has been one of the people working on the Ha‘ena Master Plan for the last 15 years. “There’s no fee for residents to get in the park or to park their car.”
After you park, you’ll present your Hawaii ID to the attendant and be recorded in the number of people in the park that day. If there aren’t any Hawaii resident parking spaces left, though, you’ll be out of luck until a Hawaii resident spot opens up.
For people who aren’t Hawaii residents, cost to enter Ha‘ena State Park is $1. Cost to park in the lot is $5 and ways to reserve one of those 70 daily-allocated visitor parking spots online are being worked out. Again, Hawaii residents don’t have to pay either of those charges.
While Ha‘ena State Park hasn’t been subject to entry fees in the past, the changes being rolled out now are to reduce the impact of use and to preserve the place.
Other parks have similiar fees. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Haleakala National Park, and Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park all charge entry fees.
Across the United States, fees are charged at most preserves, parks and monuments. You have to pay $10 per person to visit Alaska’s Denali National Park and Reserve, $25 per vehicle to enter Joshua Tree National Park and $25 per vehicle to get into Yellowstone, just to name a few.
Just recently Horseshoe Bend added $10 entry fees because of overwhelming usage, DuPont State Recreational Forest is considering entry fees and California is talking about charging entry fees for going into its most congested areas. That theory has already been put to the test in London, Milan and Stockholm.
Mid-May, the North Shore Shuttle is sparking to life with the goal of eliminating some of the stress of finding a parking spot, not only in Ha‘ena but also to facilitate travel from Princeville to the north.
Cost for that shuttle will be $2 round-trip to ride throughout the North Shore, except to Ha‘ena. For those going to Ha‘ena State Park, the cost will be $11 — $1 to cover the park entry fee and $10 to pay for transport into the park.
The North Shore Shuttle system will honor Kauai Bus passes.
“The shuttle’s purpose is to create a system that is economic for all residents,” Guy said. “That Ke’e rider (those headed out to Ke’e Beach at Ha‘ena State Park) will help pay for that.”
The shuttle is being run as a nonprofit and is being supported by a grant received from Kauai County.
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or at firstname.lastname@example.org