DLNR issues 9 citations at Sacred Falls on 22nd anniversary of fatal Mother’s Day incident

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Nine hikers were cited on suspicion of trespassing at the Sacred Falls State Park on Sunday, May 9, on the 22nd anniversary of when eight people were killed and nearly three dozen were injured during a rockfall along the waterfall’s steep cliffs.

Officers with the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) were responsible for handing out the citations.

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The chief of DOCARE says many hikers still visit Sacred Falls even though there are multiple warnings not to do so.

“Though Sacred Falls has signs everywhere, including numerous ones with a QR code connecting to a video, people still come, putting themselves at risk as well as the lives of emergency responders. Sacred Falls State Park was closed for good reason after the 1999 tragedy. There is simply no way, for anyone, to accurately predict when rocks and boulders will fall. You are gambling with your life.”

Jason Redulla, DOCARE chief

Two men were injured in a rockfall below Lulumahu Falls on Thursday, April 29, and one of the victims was hospitalized in critical condition. DLNR officials warn the public that rockfalls are impossible to predict at many of Hawaii’s waterfalls.

DOCARE officers have regularly patrolled Sacred Falls State Park every Mother’s Day for the past 22 years. An officer who responded to the fatal 1999 incident said in 2020 that getting a ticket and a court date is much better than getting hurt or killed.

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