WAILUA — Six people were arrested, Wednesday as the county attempted to transition the Lydgate Beach Park out of its Shelter In Place camping permit program.
“The Kaua‘i Police Department has been assisting the county’s Parks Department with enforcing their rules, and the closure of Lydgate Park for the restoration of the park,” said KPD Patrol Services Bureau Assistant Chief Mark Begley. “Illegal campers were warned repeatedly over the past few days about the closure of the part and their need to relocate. The county and its partners offered various options and assistance to help the campers relocate. When police arrived at the part this morning to assist County Parks, several campers refused to leave. Following repeated warning, and refusal to leave, six individuals were arrested.”
One of those arrested was Michael Daly who has been filming the closing of the park as well as camp life in the other county designated Shelter In Place sites.
He told TGI reporter Sabrina Bodon that he was arrested at 6:30 a.m. and detained until 8:30 a.m. when he was released without posting any bail.
Torrie, a resident at the Shelter in Place site for about a year, said Napuanani McKeague was arrested — twice.
“The police came early in the morning and arrested her,” Torrie said. “She came back to the camp, and they arrested her again because she did not want to leave this place. The park rangers were here on Monday, telling everyone they had to move and taping off areas that had items for disposal. They came back, Tuesday and told everyone that this was their last chance to move.”
No other information was available on the other people who were arrested.
Kaua‘i Police Department officers maintained a closure point at the entrance to the Kamalani campground while the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation team surveyed the area for restorative work following a year of occupation by the houseless community. Eventually, boulders were placed at the campgrounds’ entrance to prevent cars from getting in and out for the next three weeks or more while restorative work takes place.
The county announced it will start to allow public recreational camping at the county parks, and will discontinue its Shelter in Place camping permit program starting in March.
“Through emergency provisions in place since the beginning of the pandemic, five of our county beach parks were identified as safe areas for houseless individuals to shelter in place,” Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami said in a mid-February announcement on the transition of the Shelter in Place closures. ‘We are now at a point in our recovery where we feel confident in concluding this program, and our team will continue to make every effort to help connect individuals with assistance and resources.”
Since then, the ‘Anini and Anahola beach parks, and the Lucy Wright Park in Waimea closed with no major incidents, and recreational camping is scheduled to open at Lydgate Park from June 25.
A coordinated outreach services program focusing on housing, social service programs, and medical services will be held Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Salt Pond Beach Park to help that Shelter in Place residents transition out of the program.
The Salt Pond Shelter in Place site is scheduled to close on June 30 with recreational camping being allowed from July 23.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.