HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii is moving forward with plans to limit the number of daily visitors to the popular Haena State Park on Kauai’s north shore.
The state Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday reviewed a master plan that would only allow 900 — rather than 2,000 — visitors per day at the park, The Star-Advertiser reported .
The board recommended that Gov. David Ige approve the final environmental impact statement and give the board leader authority to approve the final master plan, which has been in the works for 20 years.
It’s the state park division’s first attempt to reduce daily patronage at a park.
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Haena State Park is the gateway to the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park and Kalalau Trail and is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year.
The 900-person limit includes day hikers heading on to the Kalalau Trail but does not include permitted overnight campers, hunters with valid permits, local residents, cemetery caretakers, volunteers attending various events or kupuna or cultural practitioners with cultural or ancestral ties to the area.
The number of visitors could be managed by an online system, according to the plan, that can distribute real-time information on park access, entry ticket availability, special events and weather conditions.
The plans also call for the overflow parking lot farther away from the highway to become the main parking lot offering 100 stalls, with a new entry turnaround, shuttle stop and pedestrian boardwalk connecting the lot to Kee Beach. The main parking lot would also be separated into a fee-paying lot and non-fee-paying lot.
Haena State Park and Napali Coast State Wilderness parks currently remain closed for months-long clearing and repairs following severe damage from mid-April floods.
Board Chairwoman Suzanne Case said the importance of the master plan has been elevated due to impacts of recent flooding on Kauai’s north shore, and that its implementation could be facilitated using disaster mitigation funds.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com