‘It was hell, it was out of control’ Haena resident on re-opening of Kuhio Highway

Local News

Kauai’s North Shore community say they were promised enforcement of new rules at Haena State Park, but four days after Kuhio Highway reopened, they claim nothing’s being done.

Wainiha and Haena residents say thousands of visitors came in on Monday leaving behind trash, were seen walking on the reef, and disregarding new parking signs. 

“The state promised us parking enforcement, and they weren’t here the first day or two, so everyone was just parking anywhere,” said Darci Frankel, owner of Hanalei Day Spa. “People were coming in real first, in fact, three of our dogs have gotten killed as a result of this.”

Residents didn’t protest Monday because they ‘wanted to give it a chance and see how enforcement went.’

“…and it didn’t go well at all because there was no one enforcing,” said Lahela Chandler-Correa, Haena resident. 

“The first day was hell, as you saw it was hell, it was out of control they were everywhere especially at the beach park,” she said. 

So early Tuesday morning, some residents protested and the Kauai Police Department was called. 

But four days later, residents still notice people illegally parking on the side of the highway even though there’s a $200 fine for parking along the side of the highway. 

Residents say that enforcement officials tell them the signs are difficult to read so it’s hard for them to ticket people. 

Residents say visitors are also confused by the new rules at Haena State Park and are hoping to share the information with them as they enter the area. 

“What’s happened now is that Haena State Park is limited to 900 people and you have to have reservations, tickets and all of that,” explained Frankel.

“And there’s no parking for more than that, so they’re turning people away so people are just parking anywhere,” she said. 
In a statement, DLNR said 

We recognized early on that the first days of vehicle and parking control, paid park entrance for visitors, the upcoming implementation of a shuttle system, along with newly designed park features, would not perhaps go as smoothly as we’d like or as anticipated.

DLNR said they hope consistent enforcement over the next few weeks will spread the message that parking is limited.

“We were promised enforcement, it was in all our meetings, they were going to dedicate,” said resident Megan Wong. “They’re not and now they’re saying ‘sorry, we’re short-staffed.’”

“We need to do a better job of managing because it’s impacting our local communities, our neighborhoods and ways of life that no community should have to face this type of impact and loss of quality of life because of over tourism,” said Rep. Nadine Nakamura (Hanalei, Princeville, Wailua).

“We’re still in that problem-solving mode as we try to adapt to the issues that are being raised. We’re not going to get it all right day one, so we are working on some of the issues,” said Rep. Nakamura.

Shuttle service for Haena State Park begins on Friday. 

County and state officials and residents strongly encourage visitors to take the shuttle to avoid fines.

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