Letter for Thursday, July 30, 2020

I hope people can still feel welcome on Kaua‘i

I was sad to hear Nolan Ahn’s call for charging much higher rates for us to visit the islands. We all know tourist dollars are critical for many business owners. And, while I agree 100% that Kauai has become overcrowded, there can be other ways to solve the problems associated with swarms visiting.

My home here in Western Washington is also far too crowded. When I was a kid I could ride my bike to school, a journey that would now be fatal due to traffic we have yet to see on Kauai. We have struggled to find ways to curb growth with no success.

I guess I am not offering a solution for the island, except to say we should provide some form of help if we visit. Say, no one can come without offering kookier. Or maybe we can only drive X amount while visiting.

I do know my wife and I give back in was most will never know and I also know we save forever to afford to visit the island we love so much we would never move here since moving would be more of a burden than our occasional visits. If you charge more, only wealthier tourists will be able to visit and it is probably that income level that builds all those multi-million dollar homes.

I hope my family will still be able to afford to come to Kauai. We have been gifted salt, fish, lobsters, and fun times down at Salt Ponds on many occasions. We’ve always felt welcome. I hope that feeling remains and that unfair fees don’t get in the way.

Ron Hirschi, Poulsbo, Washington

9 Comments
  1. Van Gogh July 30, 2020 12:32 am Reply

    Aloha Ron,

    Would you be willing to take Uber only in the vicinity of your lodging for shopping, etc.; and 15 passenger vans for longer excursions around the island. Maybe some form of “micro vehicles” like in Asia for curbside pick up and drop off at your lodging.

    More local employment too, as well if prices are set affordable locals may take the new mobile method and leave their car at home.


  2. Keith Dunbar July 30, 2020 4:32 am Reply

    It’s obvious from the recent Garden Isle article on Polihale State Park that Hawaii State Parks needs the financial support of both residents and visitors to successfully manage and maintain the parks under their responsibility. One way to do this is to require a pass for all vehicles accessing a HI State Park. If that fee was say $15-$20 for a pass that was good FOR ONE YEAR, Kauai residents could access their parks all year and provide their support. For the visitor coming say for just a week or so, they would still pay the same rate and thereby also support Hawaii State Parks. Tourists coming by bus to places like Waimea Canyon could also be asked to pay some sort of entry fee as part of their tour package, therefore also helping out the parks. Here in Washington State we have the opportunity to purchase an annual WA State Park pass when we renew our car tabs each year. Something like that could really help a state park system that is feeling the impacts of Covid-19. Plus it provides sustained support for the outstanding resources that the Hawaii State Park system is responsible to manage and protect. Just a thought.

    Keith Dunbar
    Kirkland, WA


    1. Kauaidoug July 30, 2020 10:43 am Reply

      A very good idea!


    2. LMat July 31, 2020 8:52 am Reply

      Hawaii residents already have an exceptionally high cost of living. Why should we need to pay more to access our own parks and beaches…?! Nope.
      Tourists “save forever” to come visit… Locals save forever and struggle daily to be able to afford to stay.


      1. MisterM August 2, 2020 3:44 pm Reply

        No, Hawaiians do not have an ‘exceptionally high cost of living’. It’s very similar to high-cost mainland locations, despite being one of the most remote locations on earth.


    3. MisterM August 2, 2020 3:41 pm Reply

      $15-20 is a good start, but per visit, not per year.


  3. WAVE July 30, 2020 4:27 pm Reply

    KAUAI CAN AND SHOULD BE BOTH …YES BOTH …..THE SAFEST AND MOST WELCOMING PLACE ON EARTH.

    I LIVE HERE AND I LOVE KAUAI BUT KAUAI SHOULD BE EMBARRASSED THAT WE ARE NOT THE HAPPIEST AND BEST MAMAGED PLACE ON PLANET EARTH !

    IF THE BEAURACY WERE ACTUALLY PAYING ATTENTION WE WOULD ALREADY HAVE A HIGH SPEED SILENT ECO TRAIL RUNNING BOTH WAYS FROM LIHUE ON TIME AND UNDER BUDGET CLEAN SAFE QUIET AND F..A…S..T !!

    COMON PEOPLE THE KAUAI BUS EMPLOYEES AND DRIVERS ARE ALL WONDERFUL BUT LETS BE REAL . FOR VISITORS IT IS COMPLETELY USELESS AND TRY TO USE IT AS A RELIABLE AND ON TIME WAY TO GET TO WORK

    KAUAI BELONGS TO GOD WE CAN START DOING BETTER BY CREATING A REAL 21ST CENTURY TRANSPORTATION SYSYEM THERE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH MONEY !!


    1. Everythingisawesome August 1, 2020 11:09 am Reply

      Disney Vacation Business Development already has an electric ‘train’ system included in their long range plans. The goal is to move passengers from Poipu to anywhere on the island, in air conditioned comfort, within 30 minutes. For marketing purposes, though, they will refer to Kauai as ‘One of the happiest places on earth’, Rather than ‘The happiest place on earth’. In their long range plan for vacation destinations it doesn’t make sense to rank them. They will all be equally happy.


  4. Hirondelle August 1, 2020 6:08 am Reply

    I agree that Kauai could be managed better…especially if the outmoded-by-tourism distribution of taxes and fees returned more money to the outer islands in acknowledgment of the infrastructure challenges generated by visitors. Wave’s plea for a 21st Century Transportation System raises the specter of the long over due and long over budget rail system being built on Oahu. Any extra money wrested from Oahu would be better spent updating Kauai’s waste water treatment and disposal systems.


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