December 4, 2010 – HILO, Hawaii
Video by David Corrigan | Voice of Stephanie Salazar
It was a small crowd attending the state DLNR informational meeting at the Hilo state building on Thursday. Many of the Honomu residents, cultural practitioners and tour operators in attendance learned about the visitor fees that are about to be initiated at Akaka Falls state park.
Part of a statewide effort to meet DLNR revenue shortfalls, the fees imposed on non-Hawaii residents at high use parks, such as Akaka Falls would generate an estimated $15,000 for the department.
DLNR officials admitted the plan has been a hard sell across the state. The state has already been charging visitors for access to two high use parks on Oahu – Diamond Head State Park and at the popular Pali Look out, where visitors has been paying $3 for parking since earlier this year.
Other high use parks that may see visit fees imposed are Hapuna Beach State Park on the west side of the Big Island, as well as Haena and Kokee on Kauai, and Iao Valley and Makena on Maui, but the fees for parks where people stay longer – such as at beaches – may be higher than places where visits are brief.