Bigger Boulders protect salt beds

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    County of Kauai’s public works worked with the west side community to install boulders to block access for vehicles directly next to the pa’akai beds at Salt Pond.

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    The Hawkins family plays at the edge of the water at Salt Pond, after driving to a different vehicular access to the beach and not driving by the pa’akai beds.

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    Large boulders block the access to Salt Pond that leads beside the pa’akai beds.

HANAPEPE — There aren’t as many vehicles lined up along the beach at Salt Pond as there have been in the past, thanks to community members and the county working together to protect their natural resources.

They rearranged parking — now vehicles have to drive to the other side of Port Allen Airport to get close to the beach or access through one of several winding back roads that lead to the water.

The result is the protection of the salt beds, the pa‘akai, that’s cultivated by families in the area.

The road that everyone was driving on to get to the beach went directly by the salt beds, which are natural wells that facilitate salt cultivation.

Vehicles that drove that road left behind oil and fluids, as well as other debris, and that got into the salt beds, said Malia Nobrega-Olivera, whose family is part of the traditional salt-making community.

She’s also part of a community organization defending the traditional practices and the site.

“We requested that people stop driving through there because it’s not good for the salt,” Nobrega-Olivera said.

Boulders were initially placed across the access to the beach in October, in a project that partnered the county’s public works department with the Westside.

But those didn’t last long.

“Some people removed them pretty quickly, kind of moved them to the side,” Nobrega-Olivera said. “So, we put in bigger ones.”

Those larger boulders were installed Nov. 6, according to public works. The department also said the boulders came from the beach-end of Lele Road to a location they say is “more suitable.”

“(That) protects the Lo‘i Pa‘akai of Ukula at Hanapepe called Salt Pond, and enabled a pedestrian-only access on Ka‘alani Road adjacent to the ponds,” public works said in a statement to The Garden Island.

The department continued: “The addition of boulders have limited the number of vehicles on the beach. In the past, vehicles on the beach contributed to sand erosion, allowing the ocean to push salt water and sand into the salt beds. Since the boulders were put in place, there has been a noticeable accretion of sand, allowing the restoration of the beach.”

Monday afternoon, Utah resident John Hawkins was lounging near the water at Salt Pond with his family. In two minivans, they trekked around Port Allen Airport, down Lele Road, to get to the little parking lot that offers close access to the sand.

The regular visitors to Kauai hadn’t heard much about why the access they knew was blocked off during this visit, but observed that the boulders kept the population of beachgoers down a bit from what they’d seen in the past.

“It’s harder than it should be to get down here,” Hawkins said. “But, on the other hand, when you make it more difficult, than you have less people down here and that’s nice.”

  1. Debra Kekaualua December 17, 2019 8:12 am Reply

    Yes, bird dogging but make NO mistake these folks VOTED by YOU always want us to work with THEM under their misguided antics and the wording we will soon be sick of hearing “Steward”. Barnyard snake in the grass squirreled Kumu Leina’ala for salt pond crown lands already CLAIMED by kanaka, THEY hit up frankie and kim to Steward their very own homeless encampment via the YWCA felicia invite, and yesterday Healing Horses corporate, WAS goin to be GIVEN free cocopalms lands to put Karin Stohl horses and who knows what other gifting Karin was offered. Kumu, the two awesome wahine, and karin ALL DECLINED the offers made! NOT our way, THEIR way, THEIR tax payer dollars, and still we have a helicoptor company that has NOT done what they were earmarked! The stolen mailbox(es) EXPOSED one at a time! KU’E! GTFoOM!

  2. Craig Millett December 17, 2019 9:02 am Reply

    All of this will soon be under water.

  3. tunataxi December 18, 2019 7:46 am Reply

    Sorry but Iʻve always supported the salt pond practices over the years. But this is the sort of thing that always lingers in the back of your mind. Give them an inch and they will take a mile. Denying access is just gonna drive a wedge between the salt pond hui and the citizens of the west side. The road running next to the fence is maybe 200 feet from the ponds. If you know the area you know the parking lot is less than 100 foot from the ponds. So rather than sand 200 feet away they will have a parking lot full of cars 100 feet away draining oil from an asphalt surface…. Why didnʻt they just run the rocks to the beach and keep the cars on the road weʻve been using for eternity .

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