State officials are giving advance warning that there will be strict enforcement of closing hours at Kaena Point State Park this coming Memorial Day weekend.
The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources said the park’s entrance gate near Dillingham Airfield will be closed nightly between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. — starting at 7 p.m. Friday — to protect sensitive species and habitat from illegal logging. activity.
All vehicles must be out of the park by 7 p.m., said DLNR, except for valid permit holders who will not be affected. Officials will sweep the area before closing the gate.
“We continue to receive reports, videos, and photos that show people breaking the law and ignoring the park’s safe wildlife viewing guidelines,” DLNR Chair Dawn Chang said in a news release.
Kaena Point State Park rules prohibit off-road motorized vehicles and ATVs, alcohol, smoking, animals or pets, camping, driving on the beach, open fires or flames and dumping garbage
Last week, the DLNR released photos of a couple posing for photos with an endangered Hawaiian monk seal at Kaena Point State Park, which is a federal violation. viewing guidelines of at least 50 feet. For monk seal mothers and pups, the recommended distance is at least 150 feet.
In addition, the couple’s small dog runs off-leash around the seal, posing a potential danger for both animals.
People can respectfully view the seals from a distance by using binoculars or their camera’s zoom, officials said, but monk seals or turtles sleeping on the beach should not be disturbed — and should not be touched, chase, or feed wild animals.
Kaena Point State Park — a remote park along the westernmost tip of Oahu — is a haven for seabirds, sea turtles, and Hawaiian monk seals, as well as native plants and yellow-faced bees.
Gates to the Keawaula Section of the park on Oahu’s west side will also close, as usual, at 7 pm and reopen at 6 am
Officials said the same rules are in place for both the north and west sides of the park.
“While the majority of park users don’t tread lightly, the rules to protect the natural resources of the remote and wild coastal park are broken daily and bad behavior seems to increase over the holiday weekend, ” said DLNR Division of State Parks Assistant Administrator Alan Carpenter. “People are driving on the beach, there are pallet fires that leave nails in the sand, and they leave all kinds of trash littering this landscape. Most of this illegal activity takes place after the park is closed.”
The public can report illegal or suspicious activity at 808-643-DLNR or through the DLNRTip App.