We appreciate the patience and consideration the vast majority of local and out-of-state visitors showed during the reopening of Ha‘ena State Park, Napali Coast State Wilderness Park and its Kalalau Trail on June 17.
The implementation of the master planning process initiated a new management paradigm for the parks and for the entire Hawaii State Park system.
We recognized early on that the first days of vehicle and parking control, paid park entrance for visitors, the upcoming implementation of a shuttle system, along with newly designed park features, would not perhaps go as smoothly as we’d like or as anticipated.
The general news media and various social media posts have highlighted some of the issues we’d like to address and share with the Ha‘ena-Wainiha community, Hawaii residents and visitors:
• Illegal parking — (Tuesday) four officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and four officers from the Kaua‘i Police Department will be aggressively enforcing all no-parking zone rules on Kuhio Highway leading into the park. Drivers will receive tickets that carry a $200 fine. It is hoped that consistent enforcement over the next few weeks will spread the message that parking is limited and you need to plan ahead to secure a spot in the Ha‘ena State Park lot or use the shuttle to get to the park.
• On opening day, it’s estimated that for every car that arrived at the Park with a valid permit, another 4-5 were turned away.
• Handicapped Accessible Parking — Currently there are four designated handicapped spots in the Ha‘ena State Park lot and an additional three spots at Ke‘e Beach. Apparent misunderstandings on opening day resulted in some people with handicapped placards being asked to move their cars from the spots at Ke‘e. State Parks will continue to analyze the need for the additional three spots at Ke‘e, as these spots were intended for drop-offs only and are not required by Hawaii’s Outdoor Developed Area Accessibility Guidelines or by the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines.
Both the boardwalk and trail leading from the parking lot to Ke‘e Beach are compliant with both state and federal guidelines as outdoor recreational accessible routes. Anyone with a complaint or wishing to discuss ADA or HODAG guidelines for this park should contact the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources ADA Coordinator at 587-0393.
• Protest/road block on June 18 – DOCARE Officers were not involved in this matter.
• Trash cans at Ke‘e Beach restrooms and Kalalau Trailhead — this was an oversight (Monday) and has been rectified.
• Parking lot hours — Ha‘ena State Park is open from 6:30 a.m. to sunset. Controlled access at the parking lot ends at 5:30 p.m., but this does not mean cars have to leave before sunset. However, as with everything associated with this new management paradigm, hours are being constantly reviewed.
The vast majority of the visitors contacted by State Parks staff or DOCARE officers yesterday relayed positive experiences.
This continues to be a learning curve for all individuals, organizations, and agencies involved and requires a great deal of coordination.
DLNR and its divisions are committed to making visitation to Ha‘ena State Park, Napali Coast State Wilderness Park and the Kalalau Trail a positive experience for both visitors and the local community and will adjust approaches as necessary and prudent.