HONOLULU (KHON2) — Visitors would have to shell out $50 to visit State beaches, hiking trails and parks if a bill making its way through the Legislature is passed.
KHON2 spoke to some supporters and other folks who do not like the idea.
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House Bill 442 calls for a Visitor Green Fee Program — $50 will get visitors a one-year license to visit State-owned parks, beaches, forests, hiking trails and more.
Rep. Nicole Lowen said COVID’s negative impact on tourism but positive impact on the environment left an impression on locals.
“I think it’s a lesson that we need to keep in mind as we move forward and not just get back to everything as usual and go back to make the same mistakes over again and I think a green fee would help us to accomplish that,” Rep. Lowen said.
The $50 would be put in a fund to preserve, protect, restore and enhance the areas — lawmakers are still working out how much a civil fine would cost for visitors who are found in violation.
The Hawaii Green Fee Coalition told KHON2 that the initial $50 itself is massive.
“It generates significant funding. So at 50 dollars a person, you know, we’re near pre pandemic visitor levels, that could generate over 400 million a year, every single year for conservation,” said Carissa Cabrera, Hawaii Green Fee Coalition project manager.
One Hawaii resident who just moved from Maryland does not like the idea.
“A green fee,” said Arthuo Stvens, who moved from Maryland in December, “Hawaii is already green, it’s one of the most beautiful places to live in the world!”
“We’re taxed coming here, we’re coming for vacation, we want to enjoy the island. A license for a year, most people don’t even get to come here in one lifetime,” Stvens said.
One Canadian visitor was more accepting.
“Hugh said, “”I personally would because I use all of those things and again, I’m here for a month, I would easily pay 50 dollars to be able to access all of the beautiful beaches and things you have here,” said Vancouver visitor Hugh Fraser.
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House Bill 442 is set to be heard in the Tourism Committee on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 10 a.m.