DLNR NEWS RELEASE-Dozens of Citations Issued During Ka’ena Point State Park Closing HoursPosted on May 28, 2023 in Latest Department News, Newsroom
(HONOLULU) – Eighteen people were cited Saturday night for being in a closed area, in violation of Ka‘ena Point State Park closure hours. Five others were cited for not having special access permits.
A large digital sign at the entrance to the Mokuleia Section (north shore) of the park has illuminated Memorial Day weekend closure hours since Thursday night. The citations were issued by officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).
DLNR announced last week that due to human impacts on the natural resources at Ka‘ena, it would enforce park hours during the holiday weekend; closed from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
Officers in trucks and on all-terrain vehicles began contacting people on the beach and on the roads an hour before Saturday night’s closing. People began packing up their coolers, beach chairs, and shade structures and most left in time.
In addition to the 18 closed-area citations and the five lack of special access permit violations, one man was cited for a protected species violation, as he had speared one under-sized kala. All 24 people who were cited have court appearances in the next month.
Drivers with special access permits on their vehicles are allowed to open a locked gate at the end of the pavement to access designated dirt roads beyond. They’re being allowed exit and entrance at the first gate, being staffed all night by DOCARE officers.
Curt Cottrell, DLNR Division of State Parks (DSP) Administrator said, “Ka‘ena Point State Park, both the Mokuliea and the Keawa’ula/Makua sections, represent truly the last, large, and wild coastal environment on O‘ahu. It is a valued resource for people to enjoy, but equally significant it is a sanctuary for native birds and mammals who need additional protection when so many people are visiting, like we’re seeing this weekend.”
Earlier in the day, DSP Interpretive Technician, Lelsey McPherson made her rounds, keeping an eye out for any close interactions between people and monk seals. When mother seals and their pups came out of the ocean, she asked people to move back. “Shhh…I’m Sleeping” signs dot the sand.
“One day during the current pupping season we had 16 monk seals on Ka‘ena Point beaches. Other than one fenced-off area that seals frequent, we don’t have the ability to have people guarding them 24-hours a day like has happened in Waikīkī.”
Even next to the fencing, with numerous warning signs, McPherson shooed away two people who tried to cross over to where a mom and pup were resting. She also turned back a man with a dog, noting that dogs are not allowed anywhere in the park at any time.
DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said, “We are devoting significant resources this weekend to enforcing the park closures and we appreciate that the vast majority of Ka‘ena Point visitors are complying and when officers explain the reasons, most understand.”
In addition to threats to protected species, like monk seals, illegal bonfires have left large nails littering the sand, off-road vehicle travel has damaged vegetation and created new erosion paths, and large parties have resulted in lots of litter being left in the park.
The nighttime closures of the Mokulē‘ia Section continue through Monday, Memorial Day. At the Keawa‘ula Section of Ka‘ena Point State Park, on O‘ahu’s west side, nighttime closures have been in effect for numerous years.
Cottrell added, “This weekend is a pilot project, as we explore the capacity to enforce hours and behavior throughout the entire park on a permanent basis. We’ll engage the local community and stakeholders as these actions are evaluated and future plans are formulated.”
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(All images and video courtesy: DLNR)
HD video – Ka‘ena Point State Park Memorial Day weekend closures (May 27, 2023):
HD video – Ka’ena Point monk seals (May 27, 2023):
Photographs – Ka‘ena Point State Park Memorial Day weekend closures (May 27, 2023):
Photographs – Ka’ena Point monk seals (May 27, 2023):
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