HONOLULU (KHON2) — Nesting sea turtles will soon return to the Windward Oahu shoreline, prompting the suspension of overnight camping at Bellows Field Beach Park in Waimanalo from Monday, April 18, to Thursday, Sept. 1.

According to the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation and Marine Corps Base Hawaii, the 19-week suspension also includes no twilight use of bathroom and shower facilities.

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The public will still be able to access and use the area during the day on weekends, and weekday military training exercises will also continue. However, access will be restricted for identified nesting sites.

Officials said confirmed nesting sites will be sectioned off from humans, and signs will be posted at public facilities with more information.

Sea turtles are an endangered species, and officials explained that the closure is necessary to ensure these turtles are federally-protected and can nest, incubate and hatch safely. They have been documented to be nesting along the Windward Oahu shoreline since 2020.

Although officials are unsure of why exactly the turtles chose to nest there, they were first discovered to use the area during park closures due to the COVID pandemic when human visitation decreased.

Officials also stated that the closures may extend past Labor Day weekend, which will begin Sept. 2, if there are still nesting sites.

If anyone witnesses any disturbing or illegal behavior against the turtles and/or nests, officials urge people to call (808) 285-9529 or (808) 257-2123.

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According to officials, Bellows Field Beach Park is one out of 17 campgrounds operated by the DPR. People can camp overnight with a permit. For more information on this, the DPR’s 16 other campgrounds and obtaining a permit, click here.