David Y. Ige | DLNR Information Launch: Polihale State Park to Reopen for In a single day Tenting

0
39

DLNR Press Release: Polihale State Park Reopens for Overnight Camping

Posted on July 29, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

(HONOLULU) – More than two years after it closed, Polihale State Park will reopen for overnight camping beginning August 14, 2022 due to COVID concerns and overuse and abuse issues. Reservations will be available online from August 1st and can be made up to 90 days in advance.

As of December 2020, Kaua’i’s popular beach and camping area is now for daytime use only. Camping without a permit, driving on the beach and in the dunes, and careless behavior in general led to the park’s indefinite closure in July. Going forward, the DLNR Division of State Parks (DSP) expects overnight guests to camp responsibly and take steps to restore positive stewardship of the area.

During the pandemic, stories abounded of Hawaiian marine life thriving in the absence of humans. Since the closure of Polihale in 2020, two young monk seals have been born in the park. One was only weeks ago and Mom is still breastfeeding her on the beach. Remarkably, these are the first two recorded monk seal pups at Polihale since 1962.

Apart from its natural beauty with spectacular cliffs and a stunning beach, the park is also a place of cultural importance. The sand dunes, some of which are as high as 100 feet, contain Hawaiian burial sites and are an important habitat for the endangered Lau’ehu and ‘Ohai plant species. The DSP hopes that greater awareness of the value of Polihale can change mindsets and improve overall behavior among park users. However, DSP has taken proactive steps, including installing additional signs and placing numerous boulders as barriers to unauthorized vehicle travel through the most sensitive areas of the dunes between Po’oahonu (Queen’s Pond) and the developed camping areas.

In addition, DLNR has enlisted the services of PBR Hawaiʻi to initiate an outreach and consultation effort aimed at planning future management and improvements at Polihale to improve resource protection and quality of experience. PBR Hawai’i is the company that helped implement the master plan for Hā’ena State Park. This plan has been hailed as a model for community-based management and curbing excessive tourism. The Polihale survey is an opportunity for the community to share input and concerns on a vision for the park and is available on the DLNR website.

However, the remote location and sheer size make enforcing parking rules in Polihale a challenge. Should old grievances return, the campsite could be closed again. This is where the help of dedicated residents comes in, because even with published rules and opening times, it is a shared Kuleana.

“We look forward to welcoming overnight campers back to Polihale, in limited numbers as site appropriate,” said DSP Assistant Administrator Alan Carpenter. “The late summer time of this reopening was deliberately chosen, since the heaviest use and most damage was recorded on public holiday weekends on Polihale’s fragile resources due to heavy exploitation. By next summer we intend to implement additional protections, including a pair of new Westside Park interpretive technicians (rangers) to patrol and educate park visitors.”

Mālama ka ‘aina includes staying alert to suspected illegal activities. Anyone who witnesses suspicious or illegal activity at a Hawai’i State Park is asked to immediately call the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) at 643-DLNR (3567) or download the DLNR Tip App (free of charge). which enables real-time reports along with the transmission of photos.

# # #

RESOURCES

(All images/videos courtesy: DLNR)

HD Video – Polihale Lineal Descendants plead for good behavior (February 9, 2021)

HD Video – Polihale State Park (Dec 2020)

Photos – Polihale State Park (Dec 2020)

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/icw61br9tggdcpt/AAB3zi3yH12Qs3SnEyrZ-aHza?dl=0

To make online reservations:

Polihale State Park

How to take part in the Polihale survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PolihaleSP

Media contact:

Ryan Aguilar

communication specialist

Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources

[email protected]

808-587-0396