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DLNR requiring visitors to get permits for access to Captain Cook Monument side of Kealakekua Bay

MEDIA RELEASE

Kayaks landing at Kaawaloa on the Captain Cook Monument side of Kealakekua Bay. Photographs by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7.

KAILUA-KONA – The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is implementing new measures to improve its management of the Kealakekua Bay State Historic Park and better protect the sensitive natural, historic and cultural resources of these treasures of Hawai‘i.

To prevent damage to the shoreline and coral reef and accidental destruction of significant historic and cultural sites by large numbers of visitors, DLNR is now requiring that visitors to the park receive information regarding the sensitive sites and guidance on how to assist in preserving the area during their visit. Effective February 23, 2010 information will be provided through a simple permit system for people seeking to land vessels along the Ka‘awaloa shoreline or moor at the wharf adjacent to the Captain Cook Monument in the bay.

“Residents can easily access free education and cultural practices permits that will provide guidance to ensure there is no accidental damage to the cultural sites,” said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson.

“Visitors have guided tours to ensure they appreciate the historical and cultural significance of the areas and eliminate inadvertent damage,” she added.

“In the meantime, the entire bay remains open to all people to enjoy the pristine waters and marine life,” she said.

Signs will be posted at entry locations along the bay to notify people of this system and provide information on how they can obtain a permit.

Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park and Ka‘awaloa peninsula within the bay are two of Hawai‘i’s most significant historical and cultural locations, with an abundance of fragile and significant archaeological sites.

Captain Cook Monument at Kealakekua Bay.

Ka‘awaloa is the shoreline commonly used to access the famous Captain Cook Monument from the bay. Boaters also use this shoreline to beach their vessel before snorkeling at Ka‘awaloa Cove.

“We encourage every visitor and resident to enjoy this magnificent area, and to do so responsibly to protect and preserve the corals and marine life and help ensure public safety,” said Deborah Ward, spokesperson for DLNR.

DLNR has conducted recent law enforcement actions at the pier in cooperation with Hawai‘i County Police to address illegal commercial rental of kayaks. Several illegal kayaks have been confiscated.

DLNR is informing kayak rental vendors of the new permit requirement, and requesting that the vendors advise their customers of the landing without a permit restriction.

DLNR Enforcement officers have posted and distributed the same notice at Napo‘opo‘o Pier. DLNR will also implement an outreach plan to kayak and ocean recreation companies, visitor and resident recreational interests.

One Response to “DLNR requiring visitors to get permits for access to Captain Cook Monument side of Kealakekua Bay”

  1. Dan Gavilan says:

    By sheer coincidence, we decided we would rent kayaks and paddle across Kealakekua Bay to snorkel off the monument at Captain Cook Cove on February 23rd, 2010, the first day new permit rules went into effect that severely curtail landing or mooring a kayak at the Monument.

    Now I understand the need to control access to delicate ecosystems. I understand the desire to shut down illegal cash businesses that don’t pay taxes. But If I Were King, the permit process would be different. First off, the *actual* instructions would be on the .pdf and on the web page, indicating the *actual* process you need to follow to get an actual permit. Next, for those who don’t learn about the need for a permit until they’re in town on holiday, I would have an actual human at the office in town. The DLNR office near Captain Cook looked like the custodian’s closet at a 1960’s elementary school. And the door was locked tight, despite being 2 pm on a Monday. A chalk board on the outside had a phone number. We called it. We called the number the grumpy person who answered said we should call. The only-slightly-less-grumpy person who answered that call told us to fax the form in and the District Superintendent would review the application and if he found it worthy would sign it and fax it back. Five-day turnaround time. We mentioned that this seemed to preclude anyone coming to the island for a week-long visit from actually visiting Captain Cook by kayak. She seemed to either not comprehend the implication of this or simply didn’t care. Fix the process folks.

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