Ha‘ena State Park parking management signed to nonprofit

  • Contributed by state Department of Land and Natural Resources

    A recently issued parking ticket seen on the wiper blades of a rental vehicle parked along Kuhio Highway in Ha‘ena State Park.

  • Contributed by state Department of Land and Natural Resources

    A Kaua‘i Police Department officer issues a parking citations to a Jeep parked along Kuhio Highway in Ha‘ena State Park.

HA‘ENA — One morning in late June, a Kaua‘i Police Department officer wrote 25 parking tickets before grabbing another ticket book to write another 25. He was one of two officers ticketing car after car on this day.

Rental cars had lined both sides of Kuhio Highway adjacent to the county Ha‘ena Beach Park, and those ticketed get tabbed with $235 fines. Parking enforcement is one of the tools being utilized to achieve the goals of the master plan for neighboring Ha‘ena State Park.

More importantly, is a new, adaptive-management structure that incorporates community involvement at its core.

During a June meeting, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources signed off on a one-year, revocable permit for the nonprofit Hui Maka‘ainana o Makana to oversee and manage a reservation system, including collecting both parking and entry fees, as well as an integrated shuttle system to reduce the number of cars that enter the park each day.

“The legislation that increased previously low parking fines along state highways is an additional tool to reduce visitor-industry congestion along rural roads adjacent to high-demand state parks, like Ha‘ena,” said Curt Cottrell, DLNR Division of State Parks administrator, in a press release.

”This is a critically needed enticement to ensure that the capacity-driven reservation system is honored. People need to understand that there have been decades of negative impacts to rural communities. Visitors should not try to bypass the reservation rules,” he said.

Since the North Shore Shuttle system resumed operations last Sunday after a long COVID-19 shutdown, that is exactly what has happened in some cases. People have been turned away since they did not have identification to show their state of residency. Some of the HSP parking-lot spaces are reserved for Hawai‘i residents only. Out-of-state visitors have to make reservations in advance, even if they arrive at the park with a Hawai‘i resident.

“To have a successful park-entry system is a multi-prong effort,” said Joel Guy of The Hanalei Initiative, operators of the shuttle.

”It is kind of like using the carrot-and-stick approach — increased fines and consistent enforcement for the no-parking areas paired with an exceptional shuttle service to increase access due to limited legal parking. This can be a successful formula that gives visitors an opportunity to come to the park in a pono way,” said Guy.

“There is no one recipe on how to manage sensitive cultural resources, sensitive natural resources and a fluctuating visitor industry,” Cottrell said.

“We committed to providing parking spots for residents. We know slots available for visitors sell out daily, but there is no magic sweet spot for assigning those numbers,” said Cottrell.

”So it’s a lot of watching and monitoring and working with the hui and shuttle system to manage the proper amount of visitation, and to make it economically viable and sustainable. (There are) a lot of moving parts to work with, and that’s the adaption part,” Cottrell said.

The HSP Master Plan caps daily visitation at Ha‘ena to 900 people. Reservation information can be found at gohaena.com.

5 Comments
  1. Reality Bites July 21, 2021 3:08 am Reply

    When you spend $10K on a trip, for a family of 4, from the east coast, and have one shot to hit the park, then you eat the possible parking ticket on a rental car by parking on the highway.

    The online reservation system is another government joke. Your average tourist spends hours learning the on-line system, how to beat the system, and how to reserve tickets and parking passes. Tourists are getting up in the middle of the night to attempt reservations 30 days prior.

    900 per day sounds good in theory, but it should be double. The parking should be double the size, but “There is no one recipe on how to manage sensitive cultural resources, sensitive natural resources” is an excuse for everything to prevent improvements on the island. In 2021, when we replace a one lane bridge along the highway, we build another ONE LAND bridge?? This island evolves and improves at a snail’s pace.


    1. Sam G July 22, 2021 5:07 am Reply

      Improvements at a snail’s pace are intentional and meant to slow the growth of development.


    2. A Hui Hou July 22, 2021 4:01 pm Reply

      Kaua’i is not Disneyland. What people pay to come here is not our problem. Visitors are not customers but guests. Limits and clear boundaries have to be set. Where does the entitlement stop otherwise? Do you pitch a tent in your neighborhood park when you have guests over at home? Over-tourism only benefits a few mainland corporations. The government at least was elected by the people interested enough in our common future to show up to the elections. Money cannot be the only criteria for power in a healthy democracy.


  2. I saw a Vampire once July 21, 2021 3:38 pm Reply

    Did they have to wear a face mask in the bus? Vaccinated or not. How many allowed? 50% occupancy?


  3. Eggs Ackley July 22, 2021 2:16 pm Reply

    Reality Bites,

    You one akamai buggah for pulling back the curtain on what’s real!

    Same on dem for placing fines and hurdles instead of improving accommodation. If they would but impose a tourist tax on every arrival it would be no time at all before they could construct more parking at Kee and add more porta potties at Hanakapiai and larger facilities at road’s end.

    Another thing that sucked was when they prevented Haena residents who lived across the hiway from Tunnels from accepting overflow parking onto their private property for a small fee. That helped everyone but no, can’t be having that type of problem solving cause govt doesn’t get kala.

    Seems like everything the various branches of government do is designed to either completely prohibit or impose financial hardships from restricting access, imposing fees, fines, etc. instead of finding ways to kokua.

    Yeah, I get it, they’re trying to keep the numbers of people down but my perspective is there is already a whole lotta people. If I walk to Hanakapiai and pass 100 people coming the other way, I probably wouldn’t experience it any differently if that number was 200. Nobody’s counting and hey, there are a lot more faces to say aloha to.


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