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Planning the replanting

  • Jessica Else / The Garden Island file

    This photo shows the ironwood trees cut down in November along the Ke Ala Hele Makalae coastal path near Kealia.

KEALIA — Kaua‘i County is in the process of planning what kind of native plants they’ll be putting along the Ke Ala Hele Makalae coastal path between Kealia Beach and Kuna Beach, now that ironwood trees illegally felled in the area have been cleared.

In November, area residents who frequently walk the coastal path along Kaua‘i’s East Side noticed major differences in the view from the path in that area — it was a lot easier to see the ocean.

Also, the shade provided by large ironwood trees that usually lined the makai side of the path was gone.

That’s because a private landowner cut down a large amount of fully grown ironwood trees that grew between the path and the ocean — an action that is technically the responsibility of the county’s Parks and Recreation Department and one that, without proper permitting, is a violation of the rules governing the special management area (SMA) where the trees were cut.

In November, DOPR representatives acknowledged they did approve the tree removal — they were approached by an area resident who volunteered to do some light trimming and vegetation containment in the area.

That resident went overboard and cut down all the ironwood trees that block the view of the ocean from several houses on the mauka side of the path — including a home that is in mid-construction currently.

After consulting with the Planning Department, DOPR said they needed a SMA permit in order to do the work that was done. A notice of violation was issued.

Wednesday, DOPR director Pat Porter said all the green waste that resulted from the project has been removed and the department is in the process of developing a site rehab plan to move forward.

The department is considering a wide variety of native species for replanting in the area.

“To date, the department has mapped the cleared area and identified species to be out-planted. Next step is to finalize the plan and present to the Planning Department for approval before implementation. The DOPR has also received additional guidance from the Planning Department regarding SMA regulations,” Porter said.

Director of Planning Kaaina Hull confirmed Wednesday the Planning Department did cite DOPR for an SMA violation, but no fines were issued.

“The required remediation for this violation requires the replacement of the cut and removed trees with mature native trees common to the area. We are currently working with the Parks Department to ensure that this replacement and re-planting happens expeditiously as possible,” Hull said.


Jessica Else, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or

  1. randy kansas April 16, 2020 2:17 am Reply

    how about planting some of the same type trees being used for that nifty wood burner we use to make electricity;

    we all know that is an awesome plan, cause our electric bills have gone down so much by burning wood for power !

  2. curious dog April 16, 2020 8:10 am Reply

    Hmmm, wasn’t Councilman Brun in charge of DOPR during this time? Hopefully the homeowners who chopped these down with their “light trimming” can pay to have the native species re-planted.

  3. Sue April 16, 2020 9:40 am Reply

    The person who cut down these trees should pay for this!

    We, the taxpayers, should not have to foot the bill for this idiot!

  4. Joe Public April 16, 2020 10:22 am Reply

    This is the Parks & Recreation fault. If they checked the back ground of this “Resident” he has been trying to take down the trees for years. He also has been trying to prevent access to potions of the bike path.

    Why would P&R give a citizen permission to trim trees on County property? Did the “Resident” obtain the necessary Certificate of Insurance to release the County of Liability? If so, charge the re-planting to the “Resident” as you can see, this wasn’t “trimming” he did what he wanted to get done all these years, and Porter finally gave him his wish.

  5. TreeLover April 16, 2020 10:49 am Reply

    How infuriating that fully grown trees can be so callously cut down to “provide an ocean view” for people, and then no fines are issued! Sets a great precedent!

  6. Uncleaina April 16, 2020 11:08 am Reply

    What? Another entitled rich person doing whatever they please? No way! Who’s ever heard of such a thing? Listen that pathway was created to allow access even though The Rich were trying as hard as they could to prevent it. I’m not sure what the tallest native trees are, but they sure would look good completely blocking the view of that house.

  7. ILoveTrees April 16, 2020 2:50 pm Reply

    Who are the COVIDIOTS at DOPR who allowed a citizen to cut trees down without even consulting the Planning Dept. or County Attorney for legality. Mayor Kawakami, your Administration is full of COVIDIOTS in every department.

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