Visitor entrance fees to start at Koke‘e, Waimea Canyon

  • Photo courtesy of the Department of Land and Natural Resources

    Erosion and undermining has deemed the middle and lower portions of the Waimea Canyon Lookout unsafe. The repair is estimated to be $240,000.

LIHU‘E — Starting next week, non-Hawai‘i resident visitors to Waimea Canyon State Park and Koke‘e State Park will be required to purchase both entrance and parking permits.

The program starts on Monday, April 19.

An entrance fee of $5 will be required per person, in addition to the already existing parking fee structure, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The entrance fee was approved last September with amendments to the State Parks Administrative Rules. The program was originally scheduled to begin in October, however, the pandemic intervened.

“As parking and entry fees only affect non-residents and commercial users, due to the COVID-19 pandemic there was no implementation at that time, as Hawai‘i was effectively shut down to tourism,” DLNR spokesperson Dan Dennison said Monday.

As visitors began to trickle in, Dennison said, vendors that collect the parking and entry fees also began to start-up operations as they had prior to the pandemic.

A non-Hawai‘i resident vehicle fee runs $10, and a commercial vehicle with up to seven people will cost $25 for parking.

About 99% of net parking and entry profits are deposited into the State Parks Special Fund, Dennison said. These funds are utilized for park management and operations.

On-going repairs

DLNR is also conducting repairs of the middle and lower portion of Waimea Canyon Lookout.

The $240,000 repair will take place between the middle and lower lookout which is facing severe undermining of the rock and mortar retaining walls as well as erosion around the decks and stairs due to wind and rain, the department said.

Currently, orange fencing blocks off these areas.

31 Comments
  1. Jay Franklin April 13, 2021 6:53 am Reply

    The State has done nothing this past year to address the erosion undermining of the walkway used for wheelchair access and now that tourists are starting to arrive they are just starting to work on it? The other access to the look-out going to the left is very steep and many people can’t utilize it. Also, the road as you approach the Kalalau look-out has got huge potholes and there is a monster pothole in the main Kalalau look-out parking lot. They’ve had a year to fix these too. Someone is not doing their job and now they want to gouge us.


    1. Nathan Richter April 13, 2021 12:40 pm Reply

      Yeah, they’ve been too busy fixing every road in Koloa and Poipu which I smart seeing that is where they want to keep tourists if possible (spending money).


    2. Kalaheo April 13, 2021 1:46 pm Reply

      The fee is only for non-residents. We are outnumbered on a monthly basis during tourism peaks of 100,00 visitors a month to 70,000 residents. It is foolish to not charge these guests to our island home the wear and tear they commit beyond that of a resident. We all pay state taxes for the maintenance of the park. The tourists don’t.


      1. Ed April 16, 2021 8:12 pm Reply

        The commentator above as well many locals have the misunderstanding that tourists don’t pay for


        1. Ed April 18, 2021 10:21 am Reply

          Is a separate fee required for each state park?
          Is there any discounts for Vietnam era disabled veterans?


  2. Steve Martin April 13, 2021 7:46 am Reply

    Why do we implement FEE’s for parking and use? Simple, there is no such thing as FREE maintenance and park management. So, why is it that these FEE’s are collected on a selective enforcement? If the parks are for everyone ( tourists and residents) then why should there be selective enforcement? How about everyone who uses our parks help pay for our parks. Remember the the impact on our parks comes from everybody not just tourists. The attitude of I’m born and raised here is a bunch of crap. If you use the parks and services then pay the fee’s like everybody else.


    1. Nathan Richter April 13, 2021 12:45 pm Reply

      Don’t have to be born on Kauai, just have to be a resident of the state, which makes sense because we pay additional taxes thst tourists do not. To be honest, I could care less about tourists other than their money and that’s exactly what this rule is structured for. If you don’t live here, you pay. No pay, go home..


    2. CommonSenseish April 13, 2021 12:51 pm Reply

      I wouldn’t go up there if I had to pay. There are some things we should contribute but why should we contribute to a park that OBVIOUSLY the tourists occupy more than us. Have you actually driven around the island over the past year. EMPTY, beaches EMPTY, Kokee was EMPTY, we aren’t the cause of the excessive maintenance needs… the tourists are. They should pay.


      1. Aloha C April 16, 2021 12:12 pm Reply

        So I guess the tourist were responsible for all the vandalism that was done to the parks this past year? No. Everyone should pay because all wear and tear is not just from tourists!


  3. RGLadder37 April 13, 2021 7:49 am Reply

    Is there any thing to see here? Bad idea. 900 club, but does it produce anything worth noting? I don’t think so.


  4. Dennis Jackson April 13, 2021 8:08 am Reply

    We have no problem with entry and parking fees for us visitors. And we were kamahiana for 10 years and Sierra Club Hike leaders and volunteered for beach and river clean ups. Now, as visitors we have no problem of donating a few bucks to the State Parks.

    I am all for helping the state parks to remain open. But, in reading this article, are the entry and parking fees collected by vendors who are selling their products, or by State Park officials ?

    We have a choice here in Dana Point and Orange County, Ca. to get an annual pass, or pay a small fee to enter the park. No big deal. Those fees are collected, or annual passes checked by the Rangers and/or official authority.

    Waz da scoops…..


    1. Numilalocal April 14, 2021 7:34 pm Reply

      Dennis, you’re from the mainland and therefore never kama’aina.


      1. R Li April 15, 2021 11:02 am Reply

        No kiddin’


  5. Lets see April 13, 2021 8:32 am Reply

    Let us see if this gets implemented, enforced at all..Currently I have seen tourists read the signs and laugh at those parking meters.


  6. Joe Public April 13, 2021 9:31 am Reply

    GOOD! Over the years, the increase of tourist has made Kokee a highway and box store parking lot.


  7. Palani April 13, 2021 11:47 am Reply

    Kauai continues its hostility to non-residents. It’s OK, there’s still Maui, Oahu, The Big Island, and even Lanai and Kahoolawe. Tourists don’t need Kauai.
    Maybe the island can go back to sugarcane and pineapples for its economy.


    1. Doug April 14, 2021 11:44 am Reply

      No, actually the hostility is for the dollar store visitors who rent vacation rentals, shop at Costco and Safeway, sit on the beach for free and contribute nothing to the island. See Dennis Jackson’s comment above, those are the tourists we want. Please have fun visiting the other islands!!


  8. Kauaidoug April 13, 2021 12:17 pm Reply

    This is going to cause trouble. Who in the heck making 5 or figures, figured this pricing goober?. Yes goober, no miss print. Where and how does the money get sorted out? So people in other states pay in their own state Parks. That question will come up a lot as tourists from out of state cough up doe and proof that they are indeed from the mainland.
    I agree the parks should be paid for by users. A nominal yearly permit for local and charge per car with no permit.
    I would hope rental cars are considered out of state!


  9. Des April 13, 2021 12:59 pm Reply

    So how do residents avoid being ticketed?


  10. Everythingisawesome April 13, 2021 1:41 pm Reply

    Visitor entrance fees to start at BigSafe, Foodlant.

    Starting next week, non-Hawai‘i resident shoppers to BigSafe and Foodlant will be required to purchase both entrance and parking permits. Proposed fees for restroom use and access to the deli counter have been postponed until tourism returns to pre-pandemic levels.

    An entrance fee of $3 will be required per person, in addition to a new parking fee structure, according to a spokesperson for the retail grocery association of Kauai.

    A non-Hawai‘i resident vehicle fee runs $5, and a commercial vehicle with up to seven people will cost $15 for parking.

    About 99% of net parking and entry profits are deposited into the “Safe Shopping” Special Fund. These funds are utilized for ensuring rust-free shopping carts and slurry sealed parking lots are available for local residents and other shoppers not of mainland descent.

    Saveway, a mailand based grocery chain, has refused to join BigSafe and Foodlant in charging additional fees, citing that equal access to groceries should be available to all people regardless of address shown on their ID.

    “Our price structure is designed so that things like rust-free carts and a safe parking lot are funded by a small portion of the profit from all of our patrons, rather than soaking only the customers we perceive to be rich. Singling out particular customers to pay for services that all customers benefit from just results in resentment, and has never been a good business model.” said a Saveway spokesperson on condition that they remain anonymous.


    1. R Li April 15, 2021 11:11 am Reply

      Thank you, I guess I cannot shop at Foodlant no mo, I hate Safeway but the have no parking fees so gotta go get da junk poke at da Safeway, mahalo brah 😁


  11. Mike April 13, 2021 2:09 pm Reply

    For a state that depends on tourism dollars it just keeps slapping moor and more costs on tourists. Keep it up and people will find other affordable places to vacation and then you all can enjoy permanent covid business.
    The mainland states charge fees to everyone not just a select few. And yet you preach Aloha!! RIGHT!!


  12. Terri April 13, 2021 2:18 pm Reply

    Yes , please use funds to fix those killer potholes upcountry .


  13. Jo April 13, 2021 6:42 pm Reply

    Just wondering, is Hawaii a state or a separate country? As AMERICANS do we all contribute Federally to parks?

    Why are mainlanders being treated as Lepers? Tired of the fake victim woe is us.


    1. Des April 14, 2021 11:01 am Reply

      Do you contribute federally to state parks? NO. You might want to look up those terms.

      Why you being treated as lepers? Well, at the moment it’s because you’re vacationing during the middle of a pandemic and bringing COVID into our community.


    2. Doug April 14, 2021 11:46 am Reply

      These are State Parks, you don’t contribute a dime to them.


  14. Danny Stovall April 14, 2021 11:50 am Reply

    I’ve been torn between Kauai and Costa Rica. This hostility towards your guest just made up my mind. Aloha my rear end. Keep your parks and your beaches to your selfish people. I’ll spend my dollars where it’s appreciated!


  15. MomoAki1977 April 14, 2021 3:53 pm Reply

    Ok, fair is fair. I don’t want to see any of you islanders on the mainland unless you pay up. We should start implementing Hawaiian rates at all entertainment venues on the mainland. Mainlanders don’t need to pay. If you don’t like it, stay on your island.


  16. Emerson T Knowles April 17, 2021 8:54 am Reply

    Is there any talk of an annual pass? I own property on Kauai, stay months at a time but rent a car. I am fine with the user fees. We have them in AZ where I live the rest of the year. It would be easier to pay for a pass (AZ is $7 a visit or $75 for the year) as I go early in the morning, hike and go home before the place fills up. Based on the article I might pay several hundred dollars a year for my morning hikes after paying my property tax and tax on the rental car. Any thoughts?? (Other than buy a local car, I thought of that but don’t wish to worry about it while I am not on Island)


  17. John April 18, 2021 9:05 am Reply

    Doug,
    35% in “user fees and taxes” on every room and car rental.
    Every tourist contributes.
    Supporting Costco & Safeway employees is somehow worst than the food truck vendor?


  18. John April 18, 2021 9:12 am Reply

    Since no one walks to the Waimea, isn’t it simpler to add yet another fee to the rental car?
    Eliminating those maintenence heavy parking ticket vending machines, and the head count toll takers?
    Guaranteed a sizeable portion of these fees will go to pay salaries.


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