Visitors must pay in Waimea Canyon state parks

  • photo submitted by the Department of Land and Natural Resources

    Visitors who wish to check out viewpoints in the Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park will have to pay for parking starting Friday.

  • photo submitted by the Department of Land and Natural Resources

    Lookouts, like the Kalalau Lookout will now have paid parking for visitors.

LIHUE — Paid parking for visitors and commercial tours is soon to be a common requirement in Kauai State Parks.

And the state Department of Land and Natural Resources says it’s a way to recoup some money after losing thousands of dollars in camping refunds and loss of other revenue — all due to closures of Haena State Park and Oahu’s Nuuanau Pali Lookout.

“These events collectively resulted in a significant loss in State Park revenue to supplement park unit operating funds,” a DLNR news release said on Monday.

State Parks estimates this will be a $100,000 shortfall by August.

“With Haena reopening, there is an increase in operating and maintenance costs,” said Division of State Parks Assistant Administrator Alan Carpenter. “As we now establish visitor limits, the parking and entrance fees generated at Haena will be modest and this revenue is extra important.”

Parking fees were announced Monday for Waimea Canyon State Park and Koke’e State Park. Visitors now must pay $5 per vehicle for parking. For those on a moped or motorcycle, the cost is $1 per person. Pedestrians in the two state parks will be charged $1.

Non-resident visitors to Haena State Park are already paying a $5 fee per vehicle for parking and a $1 park entrance fee to enter the park that hosts the Kalalau Trailhead and Ke’e Beach.

Visitors will have to start paying for parking in Waimea Canyon State Park and Koke’e State Park on Friday, June 28.

While the 2018 floods put a dent in camping fee collection — 14 months of no revenue — the fees were approved in 2015 by Governor David Ige and were approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources in 2010.

The State won’t be managing parking themselves, though. They’re contracting the Hawaii parking lot management company Republic Parking to do the management — via revocable permits.

Republic Parking did not imediately return phone calls for comment on how parking will be managed.

Commercial PUC vehicles and tours will be garnering fees starting Friday in Waimea Canyon State park and Koke’e State Park as well. Fees are $10 for 1-7 passenger vehicles and $20 for 8-25 passenger vehicles.

Vehicles carrying 26 or more passengers can get a special use permit for Waimea Canyon for $40.

10 Comments
  1. Kaleo Smith June 25, 2019 5:16 am Reply

    You guys want to generate revenue? Enforce camping permits at Polihale! Place is out of control! All those vehicles with the roof-top tents are everywhere including in the dunes. Every single one of them is a tourist trampling all over iwi in the dunes.


    1. robin June 25, 2019 1:04 pm Reply

      I was at Polihale 2 weeks ago, sorry but very few visitors all locals wee camping . visitors were leaving at sunset..all the cars at once.


    2. Lawaibob June 25, 2019 3:21 pm Reply

      So true! How are those tent topper rental trucks not considered illegal TVR?
      https://www.lemondropcampers.com/
      https://kauaioverlander.com/


  2. arbitrary June 25, 2019 5:23 am Reply

    how long until state of hawaiifornia will start charging for beaches? 😉


  3. Kauaidoug June 25, 2019 6:58 am Reply

    And how are they going to collect this fee? Is there to be a giant fence.? I see lots of problems with this.


  4. Lance J. June 25, 2019 8:11 am Reply

    As a clarification to the article, the DLNR issued press release states “OUT-OF-STATE visitors”, not simply “visitors”- which could mean simply visitors to the park. Only those without Hawaii issued IDs and commercial tour vehicles will be charged to park in designated lots. If you thought illegal parking was bad before, give this a few weeks… around which time residents will have to also start paying for parking.


  5. Adrian D Labrador June 25, 2019 12:21 pm Reply

    Hah, nobody going like come to da state parks.


  6. CommonSenseish June 25, 2019 3:52 pm Reply

    This is making me uncomfortable. All I see is raises for Kawakami and his groupies. Visitors already pay an arm and a leg to get here, to rent cars, to stay at the hotels here. Now charging for access to everything? Kauai is not the most beautiful or amazing place to visit, by far.


  7. ruthann jones June 25, 2019 5:46 pm Reply

    vehicles with ‘rooftop tents’???? Car rentals don’t have them….must be the ‘locals’ who have such vehicles.


  8. WestKauai June 25, 2019 8:03 pm Reply

    Good luck with this one. Since access to the north shore has been cut off, the visitors are overwhelming the Kokee/Waimea Canyon lookouts. The parking lots are full, and they park along the roadside for about a hundred yards from the lookout entrances. Also, how can you charge a pedestrian for parking when they enter one of the lookouts? This is crazy!


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