Kauai News

Shuttle Program to Limit Visitor Impact Begins at Hāʻena Beach County Park

Posted July 19, 2021, 4:30 PM HST

KPD has undertaken an initiative to write dozens of tickets at a local park.

Vehicles are frequently parked on both sides of Kūhiō Highway adjacent to the Hāʻena Beach County Park, and those ticketed get tabbed with $235 fines. Parking enforcement is one of the strategies being utilized to achieve the goals of the master plan for Hāʻena State Park (HSP). The strategy is part of a new adaptive management structure, which incorporates community involvement as its core.

Video courtesy of DLNR.

During a June meeting, the Board of Land and Natural Resources signed off on a one-year revocable permit (RP) for the non-profit Hui Maka’āinana 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 Hāʻena. 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,” said DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell.     

Since the north shuttle system resumed operations last Sunday after a long COVID-19 shut-down, 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. Reservation information can be found at: www.gohaena.com 

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

Cottrell added, “There is no one recipe on how to manage sensitive cultural resources, sensitive natural resources, and a fluctuating visitor industry. 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. 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…a lot of moving parts to work with and that’s the adaption part.”  

The HSP Master Plan caps daily visitation at Hāʻena to 900 people. 

 
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