Brand new signs stolen from Kilauea site

  • Contributed

    Volunteers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff stand next to a sign that was installed on the Kilauea side of Kahili Quarry, or Rock Quarries beach, earlier this month.

KILAUEA — A gravel road runs from Kahili Makai Road to the edge of the Kilauea River, and signs should be welcoming people to the area.

It’s all part of a plan in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that allows for responsible access and use of the historic Kahili Quarry and a go-to beach.

But the new signs that explain the partnership and the “Best Behavior” standards were stolen at the end of May.

“Not even 24 hours (after they were installed) someone had already cut the posts for the Best Behavior sign and the welcome sign. They just ripped that right off the posts,” said Jennifer Waipa, an official with the USFWS and a supervisor at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

A repaired road and signage are both results of years of work between USFWS and the group, Kia‘i Kahili, which translates along the lines of “Caretakers of Kahili.”

Kia‘i Kahili was born out of meetings in 2015, when USFWS was connecting with the Kilauea community about their comprehensive conservation plan.

Originally, the USFWS conservation plan closed the area in the evenings, but USFWS decided to work with locals to allow for local stewardship and management — and to allow for 24-hour local access.

“It was important to the community to have 24-hour access,” Waipa said.

Also involved in the planning and cooperation are the Kilauea Neighborhood Association, Aina Ho‘okupu o Kilauea, and the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust.

“The mission of Kia‘i Kahili is to achieve ecological and cultural vitality, connection and continued responsible recreation through collaborative education and stewardship,” reads a news release about the stolen signs.

As the massive potholes that littered the dirt road access to Kahili Quarry were fixed and the road grated to a condition drivable by smaller vehicles, organizations and community members teamed up and worked on verbiage for the signs.

Along with fixing the road, installing the signs was the first act of the group when it comes to management of the area.

The cost of each of the two signs was about $3,500 — plus labor.

“There was time and effort put into it, and we’re sad about that,” Waipa said of the vandalism. “Disappointed. It basically took the wind out from us.”

Kia‘i Kahili is getting ready to convene and do some troubleshooting. They’ve got a set of back-up signs and will put them out soon.

“We’ve received feedback from folks who go down there regularly and offered suggestions on placement,” Waipa said. “And we’re going out into the community with the program to do education.”

The plan was to bring people down Kahili Makai Road and to the water’s edge to explain the management and stewardship plan, but that was canceled after the signs were stolen.

“We’re regrouping, looking at other aspects, and (figuring out) how to explain what the purpose of the program is and what we’re hoping for,” Waipa said. “I want folks to understand this is a community program, it’s not just the Fish and Wildlife Service. It’s larger.”

An investigation into the signs theft is underway. Anyone with more information is encouraged to call KPD at 241-1711 or 792-9549.

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Jessica Else, environment writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@thegardenisland.com.

4 Comments
  1. Palani June 17, 2019 8:26 am Reply

    The MU people are alive and well on Kauai, and they don’t want anyone else to enjoy the beauty that is our Ohana.
    Shame on them.


  2. Geckoman June 17, 2019 3:08 pm Reply

    Nice fluffy e-mail. That’s today’s problem – too much political correctness. The perps need hard labor in the hot sun until they pay back the gross disrespect and vandalism they think is okay. Simpletons.


  3. Debra Kekaualua June 17, 2019 8:57 pm Reply

    E’O Palani! Our kapu signage wailuanuiahoano was also stolen. No matter. Is isis what it isis, these clowns need petting for doing their job! Besides that sign size is WAY to obnoxious in just the dime mensions!


  4. Latearrival June 18, 2019 8:51 am Reply

    I don’t think you should jump to conclusions. Law enforcement might want to check the home owner who is consistently blocking people and draining from his property to make the potholes. My best bet would be that it’s him.


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