KONA, Hawaii: Kiholo Bay State Park will be the focus of two meetings on the Big Island of Hawaii – in both Kona and Hilo – next week.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources issued a media release on Tuesday:
The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of State Parks, invites the public to attend meetings being held on the Big Island next week to discuss the Master Plan and EIS being developed for Kīholo State Park Reserve, North Kona, Hawai‘i.
The Division of State Parks, along with its consultants from Planning Solutions, will present some alternatives that are being considered for a draft master plan for Kīholo that will preserve the area’s natural wildland character and its significant archaeological and cultural features, protect the coastal resources from further degradation, determine the public’s recreational use of the area, and recommend any improvements that may be needed to accommodate these uses.
At the meeting, an interim camping management plan will also be announced in conjunction with the park’s temporary closure to vehicular access and clean up that will begin October 1, 2011.
“Community-based planning for improved management and upkeep of state recreational facilities is a leading objective of the Abercrombie administration’s “New Day” plan,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson. “We invite the community to get involved with our master planning process, and to share their thoughts, issues, and concerns about Kīholo State Park Reserve,” Aila said.
In a prior media release, DLNR detailed the park’s temporary closure starting October 1st:
From October 1 to approximately November 17, 2011, the makai gate along Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway (near mile-marker 83) will be closed to vehicular access. Pedestrian access from the highway will be allowed for day use only during this time. By mid-November, 2011, permits for camping at Kiholo State Park Reserve will be available.
The Division of State Parks, in close collaboration and with considerable support from the community non-profit organization Hui Aloha Kiholo, will remove discarded debris and rubbish, install camping area signs at designated campsites, construct and install new gates, install barriers to vehicular access to the beach, and clarify existing footpaths to beach and camping areas.
“For years, the public has enjoyed the unmanaged beauty of Kiholo Bay. In 2006 this area was designated as a State Park Reserve – and vehicular access and both day and unauthorized nighttime use increased rapidly. Over the years, there have been increasing numbers of vehicles driving and parking on the beach, large parties, and people camping wherever they could find space,” said William Aila, DLNR Chairperson
“Camping is currently illegal, and has reached such large proportions, particularly on three-day weekends, that it must either be eliminated or managed,” Aila added. “This management action is needed to preserve the natural and cultural resources that made Kiholo ideal to be designated as a State Park Reserve,” he added.
“Also, archaeological resources are being degraded due to the public driving on the beach and indiscriminately moving rocks and cutting vegetation for camping. The basic aesthetic enjoyment and the natural peace of a wilderness experience is destroyed by uncontrolled public use,” he said.
The lack of adequate restroom capacity, (there are currently only a few port-potties) has created a human waste and growing public health issue. The public health and safety impacts of irresponsible campers makes intervention now on this pre-existing and unauthorized use critical and necessary.
The meetings will be held on either side of the island on the evenings of September 26 and 27.
Kona: Monday, September 26, 2011 from 5 – 7:30 p.m. at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority (NELHA), Gateway Center, 73-4460 Queen Kaahumanu Highway. DLNR says after you enter the grounds of NELHA, take the first left and then another left turn into the Gateway Center parking lot.
Hilo: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., in the State Office Building conference room, 75 Aupuni St., Hilo, HI.
Anyone planning to attend the meeting, who may need special accommodation due to disability, is asked to contact the Division of State Parks at 587-0293, at least 4 days prior to the meeting date.