- Starting on Monday, September 19, access to Waipiʻo Valley Road will be granted to “all Hawaiʻi Island residents, county-permitted tour company operators, and those seeking to practice their Native Hawaiian traditional and/or customary rights” in covered 4-wheel drive vehicles.
- The updated rules continue to forbid pedestrians, uncovered vehicles – including but not limited to ATVs – and horseback access.
- A virtual community meeting to discuss the updated rules is scheduled for Friday, September 16, 2022 at 2 p.m. via Zoom.
From the County of Hawaiʻi on Thursday:
Mayor Mitch Roth signed Mayor’s Waipiʻo Valley Road Emergency Rule No. 2 and Emergency Rule No.1 earlier today, creating more access opportunities for residents. The rules, which do not go into effect until Monday, September 19, 2022 allow all Hawaiʻi Island residents, county-permitted tour company operators, and those seeking to practice their Native Hawaiian traditional and/or customary rights to access the Waipiʻo Valley road in covered 4-wheel drive vehicles. Access prior to September 19, 2022 remains limited to those specified within the Mayor’s Waipiʻo Valley Road Emergency Rule No.1, signed on February 25, 2022. The updated rules forbid pedestrians, uncovered vehicles, including but not limited to ATVs, and horseback access at this time. In addition, vehicles and passengers shall abide by existing traffic laws as outlined in the emergency rules. The authority to grant or deny additional access is within the sole discretion of the Mayor. Significant weather events and construction may further limit access.
“Our administration has worked incredibly hard to ensure that we put the safety of our community at the forefront of all we do, and as such, have had to make some tough decisions, including closing the valley road to some of its most frequent patrons,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “That said, we have listened to the community, considered comments of the judge in litigation, and worked closely with the Department of Public works and experts to explore options that would provide greater access while we plan and implement road repairs. In the meantime, we ask that all who choose to use the roadway do so with extreme caution and vigilance. Our teams are doing all they can to address potential hazards, and we would like to thank the community for their patience and understanding moving forward.”
A virtual community meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, September 16, 2022 at 2:00 pm via Zoom to discuss the updated rules and hear from community members. Interested residents may access the meeting using the following link.
The Office of the Mayor will begin issuing permits to licensed tour operators beginning on Monday, September 19, 2022.
The County of Hawaiʻi would like to remind residents that the updated access rules only pertain to the County roadway and do not permit access to private property.